Letter from Athens: Capralos Brings New Greek Shame to IOC


(Eurokinissi/Yiannis Panagopoulos)

At least Greek Olympic sprinter cheats Kostas Kenteris, who won gold in the 100 meters at the 2000 Sydney games, and Katerina Thanou, who won silver in the same event for the women there, skulked away into the night after disgracing Greece ahead of the 2004 Athens Games when they missed a drug test after faking a motorcycle accident.

You don't hear from them anymore, and rightfully so, because they were world-class stains for the country if not for the Olympics, which is so tainted by its hierarchy it serves no purpose anymore unless the International Olympic Committee wants to add corruption to the events.

The IOC, which should be based in Athens since that's where the modern Olympics began, is in Switzerland, perpetrating the fairy tale that country is squeaky-clean as it's also home to world soccer's governing body FIFA, which is just a flat-out stealing machine.

Greece, of course, was always at least represented on the IOC, since 1894, when it was created. But Greece was booted in 2015 after Spyros “Scalper” Capralos, a water polo player who was on the 1980 Moscow Games and 1984 Los Angeles Games for the Greek team, was captain of the Greek Olympic team at the 1996 Atlanta Games and head of the Organizing Committee for the Athens Games, was tied to black market ticket sales scheme for the 2012 London Olympics.

This is a guy at the top of his sport and the Olympics who besmirched his name and that of his country to scalp tickets? Why would he get within 100 meters of a scandal like that when he was Chairman of Euroclinic, a private hospital in Athens, and the President and CEO of Star Bulk Carriers Corp., a Nasdaq-listed shipping company and had been Chairman of the Athens Stock Exchange, although those are perfect credentials for thinking you're above the law.

After shaming Greece, making the country lose its spot on the IOC, he remained head of the Hellenic Olympic Committee. This is the best Greece can do?

After four years of absence, Greece regained its representation on the IOC which appointed 10 new members.

Greece's representative? Capralos. He got 60 of 64 votes and beamed he was brought back but don't let him near the ticket counter for the 2020 Tokyo Games.

“It is truly a great honor for me to be a representative of the IOC in Greece, and I want to stress that I will continue to work with all my powers for the development and spread of the Olympic ideal in my country…Greece will gain a strong voice in the Olympic Movement, as it should as it is the country that gave birth to the Olympics,” Capralos stated with so much innocence.

He's the Kenteris of the IOC, just as bad and just as guilty and should have been banned for life, a rich executive involved in ticket resales?

IOC President Thomas Bach defended the selection of Capralos despite the ties to the scandal. “Yes, there has been a warning after London 2012,” he said. “This is seven years behind us. Both the IOC Members Election Commission and Ethics Commission came to the conclusion that, after seven years, he’s served his sanction,” Inside The Games reported.

Here's part of the quid pro quo. Greece will host the 2021 IOC meetings in Athens which will decide on the re-election of Bach so you can count on him getting Capralos' vote unless they sell tickets to the meeting.

After the fix was in for Capralos to get back on the IOC, Bach came to Athens to join him in meeting Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos after the 59th International Olympic Academy Session was inaugurated at Pnyx Hill,

This is why you should lead a life of non-interference with politicians and the rich because these guys – it's almost always guys because that's what guys do – almost always win, not counting a couple of scapegoats and sacrificial lambs here and there.

Capralos was at the center of the ticket scandal that saw tickets to popular events showing up on the black market for sale for many times the original face value, which, by the way is a crime that deserves more than a warning or a sanction, and prevents ordinary people like us from getting tickets.

The British newspaper The Sunday Times said Capralos boasted – on camera – that he “pulled strings” with London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe to obtain premium tickets, and told undercover reporters he could obtain more, so let's skip the word alleged.

He was caught in a sting, lied about it, and he and the London Organizing Committee denied everything and after the IOC's fake Ethics Commission investigated, he got off with a warning. For what? He said he didn't do it. What more do you need from a man of obvious integrity besides his word.

Capralos really isn't any different than those guys warily walking up to people outside Yankee Stadium, whispering, “Psst. Need tickets?”

So enamored of the mystique of the Olympics are its acolytes that Olympics historian Philip Barker glowingly wrote that with his reappointment, Capralos “joins a distinguished lineage which can be traced back to the first IOC President and includes men of letters, diplomats, theologians, an admiral, and even a king.” And now a scalper.