- Tony Harding's story was so intriguing and dramatic, Hollywood made a movie about it staring Margot Robbie
- The New England Patriots were accused of cheating more times than any other football club. They also have the most Superbowl titles.
- The Sydney Olympics faced more drug and performance-enhancing issues than any other Olympics to date.
Being a professional athlete comes with a lot of pressure and expectations to always win and be their best. Many athletes succumb to this pressure and resort to cheating to get ahead. We've always wondered how many athletes actually, in fact, get away with cheating. Well, for the 10 unlucky athletes on our list, they did not get away with anything and many face severe fines, stripped medals and championships, and even jail time. If there's a lesson in this, nothing comes from cheating, and if you do cheat and don't get caught, well then you're only hurting yourself. Read on to find out which 10 athletes were caught in cheating scandals.
The Houston Astros
The Houston Astros won the 2017 World Series, and all was seemingly business as usual. But this is not the case, and it was later revealed that the Astros were stealing signs using technology. Stealing signs means that the Astros were watching their opponents pitching signs and signaling to their batter of what pitch was about to be thrown to them. This is quite the advantage to have and it leads to them eventually winning the World Series by cheating. Multiple coaches were fired as a result of the scandal going public, and the Houston Astros were fined $5 Million, which is the most a team can be fined. On top of all that, the Astros had to forfeit their upcoming first and second-round draft choices for the next two years.
Tom Brady & The New England Patriots
You may have heard of the term “deflate-gate” circulate the internet in 2015. It was concerning Tom Brady and the New England Patriots cheating by slightly deflating the footballs that they’d use during a game. Deflating the ball enabled them to catch and throw the ball easier than their opponent. This controversy caused a lot of debate about whether they should have been punished or not and if a slightly deflated ball truly did help them win games. It was concluded that yes, this was a form of cheating, and Tom Brady was suspended for four games in his participation, and the New England Patriots were fined $1 Million and had to give up two draft picks in the 2016 NFL draft.
In 1980 Rosie Ruiz competed at the Boston Marathon and was declared the winner having run the marathon in two and a half hours. Right before she hit the finish line, Bill Rodgers, who won the men’s leg of the marathon, noticed a few suspicious things about Ruiz. She was not able to recount what had happened throughout the run that common runners would know right away. A lot of witnesses also noticed Ruiz didn’t seem to be out of breath or fatigued. Jacqueline Gareau, who eventually became the winner, was told that she was in the lead at the 18th-mile mark and then in 2nd place at the 17-mile mark but never recalled being passed by another runner. After investigation, it was proven that Ruiz took the subway from one leg of the race to the other that put her in the lead. Ruiz’s medal was stripped and given to Gareau, who was the rightful winner. Ruiz was disqualified from both Boston and New York marathons as a result of her cheating.
Lance Armstrong is arguably the most famous cyclist to date. He won seven Tour de France titles and many other professional cyclist trophies and awards as well. Before 2012 there had been many allegations against Armstrong that he had been doping and using performance-enhancing drugs. Armstrong never failed a drug test, although it was later revealed that he was part of a massive cover-up and doping ring. After being accused, Armstrong did not appeal to the accusations and took responsibility. His seven Tour de France titles were later removed from Armstrong as well as he was given a lifetime ban from participating in any professional cycling events.
Tonya Harding was a promising figure skater. She was the first American to land a triple axel in competition and attended two Olympic games as well as a two-time Skate America Champion. Tonya’s skating career came to a halt when she was involved in an attack against Nancy Kerrigan in 1994. Kerrigan was attacked in a hallway of a skating rink after finishing up a practice skate. It was later brought to light that Harding’s ex-husband Jeff Gillooly hired a man to attack Kerrigan, who had placed first in the 1994 winter Olympics while Harding finished 8th. Harding later confessed that she was also involved in the attack and received a lifetime ban for the incident.
Marion Jones was an American olympian for Track and Field, and she was also a professional basketball player in the WNBA. After participating in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Australia, Jones won an impressive five medals, two bronze medals, and three gold. Multiple times Jones had denied ever using performance-enhancing drugs. She would blame numerous events for why she was testing negative in drug testing at the Olympics. In 2007, 7 years after the Sydney Olympics, Jones finally admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs. She was stripped of the five medals she won in 2000 and received six months in jail for lying under oath and to federal officials.
Dora Ratjen was a German Olympian who was born with both female and male genitalia in 1918. Ratjen, who went as Dora up until 1939, then later changed their name to Heinz, competed in the 1936 women’s high jump for Germany, and finished fourth. In 1938 Ratjen finished first in the European Athletics Championships, and in 1939 broke the world record. Dorothy Tyler-Odamn, who held the record before Ratjen beating it was suspicious and demanded they investigate as she believed that Ratjen was a man. It was later determined that Ratjen identified as male and was stripped of the world record that was returned to Tyler-Odamn.
New England Patriots: Filming The Bengals
Another Football controversy has the New England Patriots in the middle of it. During the 2019 season, the Patriots were playing the Cincinnati Bengals and, allegedly, the Patriots staff were spying on the sidelines of the Bengals. It was believed that the Patriots were peeping at the plays that the Bengals planned on using that game. The Patriots claimed that the video crew was at the Bengals sidelines simply recording a documentary, and it had nothing to do with the actual football game taking place. The proof of a Patriots staff spying on the Bengals sideline is still under review by the NFL at this time. This is the second time the Patriots have been accused of recording their opponent as they were part of a “Spygate” scandal in 2007.
Multiple Italian Football Clubs
In May of 2006, it was concluded that five major Italian soccer clubs were guilty of conspiring with major referee organizations and bribing them to favor their club during a match. These 5 clubs, A.C Milan, Reggina, Juventus, Fiorentina, and Lazio, had phone conversations leaked between management and referee organizations stating that the referees will favor their team. The Italian Football Federation prosecuted the five teams and handed out severe punishments. On top of finds, the football clubs were kicked out of their category A status and demoted to category B. On top of this, they were deducted 6 points at the start of their season.
The Spanish Paralympic Basketball Team
Another cheating scandal came out of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, only this time it was the Paralympics. A paralympic basketball player who played for the Spanish team, Carlos Ribagorda, revealed to a journalist that many of his teammates did not go through medical testing to ensure whether they had a disability or not. There was an investigation conducted, and although multiple members were said to have mental impairments did not. Spain was stripped from its basketball gold medal as a result.