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The Biggest Cheats in Sports

  • Lance Armstrong was doping during his 7 Tour de France titles
  • Players, managers and referees were involved in gambling
  • Spanish basketball team players even faked disabilities
biggest cheats in sports
Image via Needpix

Though all sportsmen should represent values, like fair play, fighting spirit and endurance, from time to time we can come across athletes who try to break these rules. Either they take some forbidden drugs or use other tricks to get an undeserving advantage. Our list below contains the biggest cheats in sports. 

From Maradona’s hand goal at the 1986 World Cup to several doping cases in cycling and athletics, there have been many scandals in the history of sport. It’s a shame that even the best and most famous athletes could commit these cheats, which question the performance of every other clean athlete. But luckily they are only the small minority. Even though we can remember their names for a long time after their scandals.

Doping athletes committed some of the biggest cheats in sports

Unfortunately, doping has been in sports since a very early age as we were writing about it earlier. Any athlete who has ever used an illegal substance is a cheater. As he or she tried to gain an advantage with the help of these drugs. And even the biggest stars could use them, like in the case of seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong. Or Olympic champion sprinter Ben Johnson who failed his doping test in 1988 after winning the 100m with a new world record at the Seoul Olympics. Both of them have been stripped of their titles after their acts, which they try to explain in vain. Hopefully, there won’t be any doping cases at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which you can bet on at bet365.

Since then there has been an even bigger scandal about doping. It resulted in the ban of Russian athletes from all main sports events for the next four years. The state-sponsored system of doping in Russia, including destroying data and trying to hide every evidence is one of the biggest cheats in sports. As it doesn’t only include a few cheating athletes, but several coaches, clubs and even sports leaders who all supported the usage of doping.

File:Tour de Doping.jpg
Tour de Doping – Image source: Wladyslaw / CC BY-SA via Wikimedia Commons

Manipulating your own games

If you’re a player or manager of a sports club, you can’t bet on your own team’s performance. It might sound obvious but we can find several examples of breaking this rule. Back in 1919, players of the Chicago White Sox baseball team accepted money in exchange for throwing away the World Series against Cincinnati Reds. It was all part of a scheme organized by a gambling ring. The cheating players were banned for life after and the incident became known as the “Black Sox Scandal”. Scandals like this are not common at all in baseball. The games are one of the most famous bets at online gambling sites in the US.

White Sox players were not the only one accepting bribes in the history, as we also discussed. A football referee in Germany accepted money to manipulate the results of the games. NBA referee Tim Donaghy did the same in 2007 when he fixed the games to satisfy some mobsters. South African cricket player Hansie Cronje was also involved in match-fixing at the end of the 1990s. In 2000 he was also banned for life from the sport. Two years later he died in a plane crash, which many people thought was a murder ordered by the cricket betting syndicate.

Faking disability

The Spanish Paralympic Basketball team committed an even worse cheat than bribery. They faked having an intellectual disability so they can play and eventually win the Paralympics in Sydney in 2000. 10 out of 12 players were totally healthy, and they were chosen by the Spanish Federation deliberately. The team was stripped from the gold medal after the cheat was discovered. What’s more, the whole sport was suspended for the next two Paralympic Games.

The Hand of God

Image result for maradona hand of god
The hand of god – Image via Flickr

Probably the biggest mistake and the most controversial goal in the history of football is the goal of Diego Maradona. Surely everyone has seen the video when Diego simply handed the ball into England’s goal during the quarter-final at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. As the Tunisian referee hasn’t seen the handball, the goal was valid and became world-famous. In Maradona’s defense, after this, he scored another goal. That goal was truly amazing, and was called after “the Goal of the Century”. But still, handball is handball, and it should never have been allowed. Now, these kinds of mistakes can’t really happen. Especially with the use of VAR, which will be at work at Euro2020 as well.

Bloody rivalry

Women can be very jealous of each other and it’s even worse if we’re talking about competitive athletes. A great example of a bitter rivalry is the case of Tonya Harding. She hired her ex-husband to beat her big rival, Nancy Kerrigan before the US Championship in 1994. As online sportsbooks in the US were reported, Harding was banned for life from the sport after her involvement in the attack came to light. Interestingly though Tonya became famous after her cheat.  She was invited to different tv-shows. Her story was made into documentaries and a film called I, Tonya, which even won an Oscar in the Best Supporting Actress category.

Cheating in running races

Running a marathon is surely a tough job, but you’d expect all competitors to be able to run it through. The winner of the race at the 1904 Olympics, Fred Lorz actually covered some part of the distance by a car after he became tired after the first 9 miles. He was also banned like the other cheating athletes. Later he was reinstated though as he said it was only a joke and didn’t want to commit any fraud.

Several years later another cheat happened, this time by a female runner. In 1980 Rosie Ruiz had run first at the New York Marathon. At least, part of it, as she was seen to take the underground during the race. But her cheat was only discovered after she won the Boston Marathon the following year. At least that was what everyone thought for eight days when it came to light that Ruiz only jumped out of the crowd from a few meters before the finish line. After all made sense, like why she didn’t look exhausted at all or couldn’t remember the route.

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