Have you heard about the Spanish Paralympic cheats? Sometimes a story comes along that is so outrageous that it’s hard to believe. In 2000, Spain celebrated one of their most successful Paralympics which took place in Sydney. Their take was 107 medal and they finished third behind Great Britain and Australia. Unfortunately all was not smelling of roses. In one of the greatest cheating sagas in the history of sport, it transpired that the disabled basket ball team were far from disabled.
Introduction: Spanish Paralympic Cheats
It turns out, that out of the twelve players, only two were actually with a mental handicap. The rest were Spanish Paralympic cheats. Now, 13 years later, the former boss of Spanish basketball, Fernando Martin Vicente, was finally found guilty of fraud. He was fined €5,400 (£4,600) and ordered to return €142,355 (£120,500) in government subsidies. This was the amount which the Spanish Federation for Mentally Handicapped Sports received for the athletes.
The deceit came to light thanks to an undercover journalist, Carlos Ribagorda. He was an actual member of the team working on a story. He also claimed that many of the other Spanish athletes in other sports were not suffering from any mental deficiencies. These included table tennis, swimming and track and field. All sports you can bet on with 888sports. Just days after the Paralympics ended, he told online sports book news in the UK, ‘Of the 200 Spanish athletes at Sydney at least 15 had no type of physical or mental handicap.”
The Federation (Spanish Federation for Mentally Handicapped Sports (Feddi)
“The Federation (Spanish Federation for Mentally Handicapped Sports (Feddi) didn’t hesitate in signing up athletes without any type of handicap,” the journalist wrote in Spain’s Capital magazine.”They just sent them an official letter – the aim of this policy was to win medals and gain more sponsorship.” He added, “they didn’t even pass medical or psychological examinations.’ He said that the non disabled players were given fake medical papers. In other words they were Spanish Paralympic cheats. The apparent aim of this cheating was to win more medals. Also to ensure greater funding in the future. At least they were not betting on the outcome. Unfortunately, they are not the first Spanish athletes to be caught out.
Spanish Paralympic Cheats: Pride Before a Fall
In order to maintain this facade, the trainer on a number of occasions had to tell the team to move into a lower gear. “Lads, move down a gear or they’ll figure out you’re not disabled,” the Spanish trainer told his players half way through the first game with China. The referee had to call a time out as the Spanish were up 30 to nil. Otherwise the score difference would give them away. In the end, their downfall was pure hubris. Whist celebrating their gold medal win over Russia, they forgot to continue the act. Something you will not have to worry about if you’re celebrating your winnings with 888sport. When their photos were published in Spain, readers, along with friends and family recognize some of the players. They spoke out about their lack of mental impairment. At the same time the story of the Spanish Paralympic cheats from Carlos Ribagorda was breaking news. At the time, Fernando Martin Vicente claimed that the allegations were untrue.
Lack of Respect
There was no option but for the Spanish Paralympic cheats to return their medals. Instead the gold went to Russia by default. Other members of the basketball team along with the managers of the Spanish Federation for Mentally Handicapped Sports, also saw charges. According to online sports book news in the UK, after Martin Vicente resigned, he said that, ‘If someone wants to cheat, it’s difficult to detect. It’s easy to pretend you have little intelligence but the opposite is difficult.’ And it’s not as if this was the first time cheating took place at the Olympics. Another huge problem was why it took 13 years to bring the case to court. And of the 19 persons charged, only one was found guilty.
It’s all About the Money
The mastermind behind the money-making scam, Fernando Martín Vicente, took full responsibility for the scandel. because he is the father of a disabled child, he founded the National Association of Special Sports in 1975. It has received huge amounts of state funding ever since. In fact, the Spanish newspaper, El Mundo reported that Vincente had earned over 5 Million Euros from various grants and sponsorships over the years. This allowed him to maintain five houses, eight cars and a yacht. As with almost everything in sports today, money corrupts and distorts everything it touches.