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Top 10 high-profile international athletes banned for doping

Published at :January 24, 2023 at 11:36 PM
Modified at :January 25, 2023 at 9:21 PM
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These top sports stars came under the Anti-doping agency scanner.

Athletes are known to strive and struggle to achieve their dreams. Their toil and relentless work ethic is put to the ultimate test to realize those ambitions. The road to glory is not a bed of roses. It is filled with sweat, blood, tears, and unending sacrifices. Those who manage to do it become legends in the sporting world.

The world bows down at their feet. Nations and fans alike worship them as heroes. The advertisement agencies fall at their feet giving them endorsement contracts worth millions. At this rate, it is no surprise that the temptations for a player are immense. The players become aware of their value in the market. They know that their good performance is the key to having that "good life". As such, sometimes these top athletes get carried away.

They resort to illicit means to enhance their performance. The use of anabolic steroids and performance-enhancement drugs becomes the norm. Unfortunately for them the stringent drug control policy's imposed always end up catching them in the act. So today we are going to find out about such top international athletes who were caught "doping". Let's have a look at these heavyweight stars and find out about them.

10. Simona Halep

Simona Halep's positive drug test for a banned substance has sent ripples through the tennis world. The former world no 1 was accused of taking Roxadustat which is a banned substance. Following this the Romanian was provisionally suspended by the International Tennis Integrity Agency, the anti-doping agency for tennis.

Halep vehemently denied those claims and expressed her surprise at the positive doping results. The two-time Grand Slam champion "vowed to fight until the end to prove her innocence" as this maligned her reputation as a clean athlete. She is currently busy fighting those doping charges.

9. Martina Hingis

Swiss superstar Martina Hingis was also caught doping. This incident happened in 2017. Martina tested positive for benzoylecgonine, which is a metabolite of cocaine. As a result, Hingis was given a two-year suspension from the sport.

Coincidentally Hingis had also announced her retirement from the sport by this time. She finally out of retirement in 2013 and excelled on the doubles circuit, winning nine Grand Slams and becoming World No. 1.

8. Andre Agassi

Andre Agassi is another tennis legend who came under the clutches of doping. The American tested positive for using methamphetamine. A joint investigation carried out by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP World Tour)  handed down a three-month suspension from professional tennis for the incident.

Though Agassi denied the allegations during his playing career but he later confessed his crime. The flamboyant superstar said he used it in 1997 to deal with personal and professional problems.

7. Randy Barnes

American shot putter Randy Barnes is next on our list. The 1996 Olympic Games gold medalist tested positive for androstenedione. This was the second violation after he was caught using anabolic steroids on August 7th, 1990.

However, unlike many others, Barnes's accomplishments weren't erased. He later pursued a football career. Unfortunately for him that did not pan out, but he still lays claim to his medals and records.

6. Ben Johnson

Probably the most infamous drug scandal in Olympic history involved Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson, marring one of the signature events of the Summer Games — the 100-meter dash. Johnson appeared to have won the race at the Seoul Games in world record time, but he tested positive for an anabolic steroid and had his gold medal taken away. Ironically it went to American rival Carl Lewis instead.

Johnson made a comeback after his suspension in 1991 in his home in Hamilton, Ontario to a massive crowd response.

5. Marion Jones

Marion Jones dropped a massive bombshell in 2007. She came out clean about her use of performance-enhancing drugs. She also confessed to lying to the federal agents.

As a result of which the track and field athlete spent six months in jail and the IOC stripped her of all five medals. This was a huge blow to American athletics and the world of sports in general. As Marion had established herself as a star due to her heroics in the Sydney Olympics.

4. Sun Yang

The most famous case of trimetazidine in sports doping involved Chinese swimmer Sun Yang. Sun served a three-month ban in 2014 after testing positive for the stimulant. The ruling was not made public by China’s anti-doping agency until after the ban ended, a controversial decision.

Things took a even more wilder turn in 2018.  The three-time Olympic champion refused to let anti-doping officials leave his home with a sample of his blood. He reportedly went further ordering someone from his entourage to smash the casing of a blood vial with a hammer so that it would not be valid for testing. Subsequently he was disqualified from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics ending his hopes of defending his Olympic title.

3. Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova also had a doping incident that tarnished her reputation. The '"glamour queen" failed the WADA drug test while playing at the Australian Open in 2016. The banned substance in question was meldonium. This resulted in Maria getting a two-year ban.

However, that was later reduced to 15 months after it was found that Maria did not take those supplements intentionally. She made her eventual return at the Grand Slams at the 2018 US Open.

2. Justin Gatlin

Justin Gatlin is undoubtedly one of athletics’ most controversial figures. The USA sprinter returned from failed drug tests to claim the 100m Olympic and world title. In 2006, Gatlin was banned for eight years after failing a drug test for a second time. He had originally been banned for two years in 2001 after testing positive for amphetamines.

Gatlin later appealed against the verdict. Following this, an arbitration panel reduced it to four years at a hearing in December 2007.

1. Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong's legendary career came to a brutal end. The cancer survivor inspired audiences around the world in the late 1990s. His 7 Tour de France titles are a part of cycling folklore. However, all that changed in 2012.

 He faced allegations of using banned drugs and utilizing illegal blood transfusions. Resulting which he received a lifetime ban from the sport that made him a global sensation.