Top 10 instances when athletes were caught cheating red handed


February 1 2023
Athletes caught cheating

These scandals shocked the entire world.

Sports is one of the biggest levelers of our society. People belonging to various backgrounds come together to compete on an equal playing field. A level playing field without any biases is one of the most important parts of any sport. However, the urge to win in some people are such that they try to create a favourable condition in order to raise their chances of winning by unfair means. In simple words sometimes some people resort to cheating to win. In this world of cameras and surveillance getting away with cheating at the highest level is near impossible.

Having said that here is a look at 10 times athletes were caught trying to cheat:

10. Tom Brady

Tom Brady is considered to be one of the greatest to have played the game of American Football. The quarterback spent the majority of his career with New England Patriots. However the great has his fair share of controversies as well. In 2015 Brady was found to be using balls that were intentionally deflated in their game against Indianapolis Colts. This deflated ball was illegal as it meant that Brady had a better grip on the ball. After being found out, Brady was imposed with a fine of $1 million and was also given a four-match ban.

9. Boris Onishenko

Boris Onishenko was a former pentathlete from the Soviet Union. He had competed in the Olympics and World Championships plenty of times and had won numerous accolades both in the team and individual events. Boris came onto the 1976 Olympics after having won the Gold in the previous Olympics. But his success came in the team event and Boris wanted to win the Individual gold in the 1976 Olympics. However, in Boris’s fencing match, the British team in the opposition complained that the weapon he was using was faulty as it was registering points even though Boris was not hitting his opponents. The weapon was checked and it was found that Boris had tempered with it. Boris was immediately disqualified from the tournament and he never competed again.

8. Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft

In the sport of Cricket, tampering with the cricket ball is a big offence. A tampered ball can give a huge advantage to one of the sides. This was what the Australian cricketers David Warner, Steve Smith, and Cameron Bancroft were found guilty of in a test match against South Africa in 2018. Cameron Bancroft was caught in the camera while trying to rub the ball with sandpaper to make the ball more uneven on one side. Captain Steve Smith and Vice-captain David Warner were also found guilty and all three of them were handed out severe punishments both by the ICC and Cricket Australia.

7. Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong was considered an American hero once upon a time and rightly so. He had recovered from cancer to go on to win seven Tour de France titles in a row from 1999 to 2005. But his heroic status didn’t last long. In 2012 an investigation reported that the cyclist had been using performance-enhancing drugs throughout his entire career. Armstrong was stripped off all his accolades and he later went on to confess that he had indeed been using performance-enhancing drugs.

6. Hansie Cronje

Hansie Cronje was the captain of the South African cricket team back in 1999. He was one of the greatest cricketing talents in the world at that time. However, soon an audio clip emerged where Cronje was heard to be accepting money to fix matches. Three other South African players were also named in the clip. Cronje was given a lifetime ban from playing cricket after that. Despite protesting the ban his protests were dismissed. Cronje died soon after that at the age of 32 when his plane crashed in South Africa.

5. Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson came into the 1988 Olympics whilst holding the World Record for the 100m sprint. He then went on to become the first Canadian since 1928 to win the Gold in the 100m sprint in the Olympics. But this victory was short-lived. Also, Doping tests found that Johnson had been using steroids and other drugs that were considered illegal. The Canadian was disqualified three days after his triumph. Johnson and his coach in their defense said that almost all the other athletes were using similar drugs.

4. Spanish Basketball Paralymics Team

Spain won a total of 104 medals in the 2000 Paralympics held in Seoul. One of those included a Gold medal in Basketball for the intellectually disabled. However soon after their victory, a player from the team Carlos Ribagorda stated that the Spanish team had actually cheated. Carlos was an undercover journalist playing for the team. Also, Carlos said that as many as 12 members of the team were not intellectually disabled at all and that Spain did not carry out any tests to check their disability. The Spanish teams were stripped of their Gold medals.

3. Rosie Ruiz

In 1980, Rosie Ruiz went on to win the Boston marathon. The time needed for her to finish the marathon was the fastest in the Boston marathon history and also the third-fastest female time ever recorded in any marathon. This should have made Rosie Ruiz a legend in the field of the marathon, however, Rosie became famous for all the wrong reasons. It was later found out that Rosie had not actually completed the marathon but had only joined the race half a mile before the finish line. She was soon disqualified from the race. 

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2. Marion Jones

American athlete Marion Jones won five medals in the Sydney Olympics in 2000 in various track and field events. Those five medals included three gold and two bronze medals. But those medals were soon stripped off when it was found that Jones had been using steroids during her performances in the 2000 Summer Olympics. She was one of the athletes who were linked to the BALCO scandal. Despite all the controversies, Jones later went on to become a professional Basketball player in the WNBA.

1. Tonya Harding

Tonya Harding is a former American figure-skater. In 1994 ahead of the US Figure skating championships, Harding conspired to have fellow American figure skater and her rival, Nancy Kerrigan attacked. The attack was orchestrated by Harding’s former husband and her bodyguard. The plan was to injure Nancy before the tournament so that she couldn’t participate in the upcoming tournament and also in the Winter Olympics.

However, Harding and Co’s plan failed as Nancy ended up with a bruise instead of a broken leg. Kerrigan then went on to win silver in the Winter Olympics. Tonya admitted to her wrongdoings and was penalized with a fine and 5000 hours of Community Service.

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