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Last Updated: Monday, 16 August, 2004, 23:47 GMT 00:47 UK
Greek duo revel in golden delight
By Andrew Fraser
BBC Sport in Athens

Nikolaos Siranidis (left) and Thomas Bimis (right)

Greek diving heroes Nikolaos Siranidis and Thomas Bimis insisted the home crowd was the only "drug" they needed after winning their country's first gold medal of the Olympics.

Siranidis and Bimis triumphed in an extraordinary 3m springboard competition after the intervention of a streaker sparked a dramatic collapse among their rivals.

And the pair said they hoped their win would help Greeks forget about the missed drugs test scandal surrounding compatriots Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou.

"The Greek crowd was the best 'doping' for us - it gave us so much positive energy," said Bimis.

"I would like to stop discussing this unfortunate event [the Kenteris/Thanou affair], where we don't know what happened.

"Let those two athletes follow the course that has been set for them and let's take care of other more important issues."

The Greek pair sent their fans wild by producing a stunning late surge for gold after three of the medal contenders completely lost their nerve in the final round.

There must be someone watching over them
Tony Ally

Moments earlier the crowd had watched in disbelief as a spectator evaded security and walked out on to one of the springboards.

The man stripped down to a tutu and clown feet, revealed an advert on his chest for an online betting company, and belly-flopped into the pool before being taken away by police.

As the nerves began to bite, China's Kenan Wang splashed into the pool after failing to execute a rotation, dropping him and partner Bo Peng from first to last.

Then the fifth-placed Russians blew their medal chances when Dmitri Sautin smacked the board with his feet after misjudging his take-off.

And when second-placed Americans Justin and Troy Dumais got their dive horribly wrong, the Greek pair held their nerve to claim victory by just 3.3 points.

Bimis and Siranidis performed a jig of delight on one of the boards before rushing over to milk the adulation from the fans.

A spectator dives in during the men's 3m synchonised final
Wang claimed the spectator's intervention put him off
While Wang admitted afterwards that the incident had destroyed his concentration, Bimis and Siranidis said they had taken it as a good omen.

"It was a good moment because the same thing happened during the Greek victory against Portugal in the final of Euro 2004," said Bimis.

"There must be someone watching over them," said Britain's Tony Ally, who set a personal best with team-mate Mark Shipman to finish fifth.

"The guy jumped on the board and then everyone went downhill from there.

"It was a matter of pushing it to the side and moving on, and I don't think a lot of people did that. That's why there were so many mess-ups at the end.

"It was funny and disappointing. If you can just shrug it off, then fair enough. But it can mess your mind up."

Shipman said: "We wanted a personal best and that's what we got.

"Everyone else seemed to get spun out by the guy but I think it was more the Chinese.

"You don't see that very often, someone completely losing it on the twist. He basically got totally lost and didn't know where he was."

The Greek fans and volunteers cavorting around the diving arena could not care less.

After a dismal few days brooding over the Kenteris and Thanou affair, they finally had something to celebrate.





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