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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 August, 2004, 16:21 GMT 17:21 UK
Police quiz medal hopeful's father
Nicole Cooke
Nicole Cooke is among the favourites to win cycling gold
The father of Olympic gold medal hopeful Nicole Cooke has been questioned by police after allegedly painting her name on an Athens street.

Greek officials said Anthony Cooke used white paint to write his daughter's name on the Olympic cycling road race course.

He was taken for questioning by police before he was later released.

Mr Cooke was following a cycling tradition where supporters paint their favourites' names on the course.

Nicole Cooke is among the favourites to win the Olympic road race title, which will be contested on a course around the streets of Athens.

He wrote the name on the road to encourage her because she is in the race tomorrow
Greek Ministry of Public Order spokeswoman

If the 21-year-old, from the Vale of Glamorgan, south Wales, wins, she will become the first British woman to win a cycling gold and the first British cyclist to win a road race gold.

Greek police questioned Anthony Cooke after spotting him allegedly daubing his daughter's name on Erodotuou Street, in central Athens, at 10.15pm (local time) on Friday night.

Mr Cooke, who is also his daughter's coach, was taken to a local police station along with his friend, Richard Owen.

No arrests

They were questioned and had their passports checked before being released. Neither man was arrested.

A Ministry of Public Order spokeswoman said Mr Cooke had not finished writing his daughter's name before he was taken to the police station.

Philip Pope, of the British Olympic Association, told BBC News Online: "We are responsible for looking after the athletes, this is a matter for the Cooke family."

Cooke goes into the Athens road race as the reigning World Cup champion and winner of 2004's Giro d'Italia.

Sunday's road race will be the first of three attempts at cycling gold by Cooke - with the time trial and points race to come later in the Games.

Athens has an estimated 70,000 police and army guards on duty to ensure maximum security for the Games.

Cooke 'can deliver gold'
13 Aug 04  |  Cycling
Cooke drops pursuit
23 Jul 04  |  Cycling
Giro win delights Cooke
11 Jul 04  |  Cycling

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