10 Sports Stars Who Cheated
Is there anything more scandalous in the sporting world than a superstar getting caught cheating? Some of the biggest names in the sporting world have been brought to their knees by proven accusations of cheating.
From doping to ball tampering, here’s a list of 10 cheating athletes and what they were caught for:
1. Lance Armstrong – Cycling
It’s impossible to write a list about cheating sports stars and not start with Lance Armstrong.
He was the superstar of cycling, having overcome cancer to win an unprecedented seven Tour de France titles, all the while consistently denying that he had doped. He was an American hero, but he was in for a big fall.
In 2012, the USADA came to the conclusion that Armstrong had used performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career.
The upshot was Armstrong being stripped of all seven Tour de France wins, plus he also received a lifetime ban. Any doubts about his guilt were expelled when he famously confessed on Oprah.
2. Fred Lorz – Marathon
Next up, we come to a name you might not have heard of. However, his story from the 1904 Olympics in St Louis is a remarkable one.
Lorz was an entrant in the marathon and managed to be first home, winning the gold medal and having a photograph with Alice Roosevelt.
Lorz didn’t run a particularly fair race, though. In fact, he didn’t run at all for 11 miles, as he was instead carried along the course in a car.
It might seem obvious today, but word only spread after the race about how he cheated. He was, of course, later disqualified and the race was awarded to Thomas Hicks.
3. Ben Johnson – Athletics
Canada’s Ben Johnson is perhaps one of the most famous cheaters of all time, as he cheated to win the blue-ribbon event of athletics: the Olympics’ 100m title.
His run in the 1988 Olympic final in Seoul astounded the world, taking nearly half a second from the world record, as he easily ran to victory.
It didn’t take long for the race to become engulfed in controversy though.
It was revealed that one of his samples contained stanozolol, a banned anabolic steroid. He was banned for two years and the medal went to Carl Lewis.
Johnson returned but was banned for life in 1993 after testing positive again.
4. Tom Brady – NFL
Tom Brady is an all-American boy and an idol to millions of New England Patriots fans around the world.
There was controversy concerning the 2014-15 AFC Championship game between the Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts, though – a game the Patriots would win 45-7.
The controversy surrounded the balls used, which Brady demanded be slightly deflated, in order to gain an advantage.
Subsequently, Brady was fined a massive $1 million, plus he was banned for four games. While Brady is still considered the GOAT by many, the scandal certainly put a black mark against his name.
5. Boris Onischenko – Fencing
Boris Onischenko was a competitor in the modern pentathlon at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.
He was one of the favorites for the event, having won a silver medal in the previous Olympics. By the end of the competition, he was disgraced though, due to cheating in the fencing discipline.
But what did he do?
Well, he connected a device to his épée, which allowed him to simply press a button and add a hit to his total. So, he didn’t even have to make contact in order to get a hit.
His plan was undone when the British team noticed he wasn’t getting genuine hits. And after an investigation, he was disqualified.
6. Sylvester Carmouche – Horse Racing
Sylvester Carmouche’s story is perhaps the most blatant example of cheating on this list, and it is no surprise to find that he was caught almost straightaway.
It occurred at the Delta Downs racetrack in Louisiana, on what was a very foggy day. Carmouche would romp to victory by 24 lengths, but something wasn’t right…
Many of the riders said that they’d never seen Carmouche pass them during the race, and soon the true story came to be known.
Hidden by the fog, Carmouche had stopped near the start, and then re-joined the race once he heard them coming around again.
For cheating, he was handed a 10-year ban.
7. Hansie Cronje – Cricket
Next, we turn to the world of cricket.
Hansie Cronje was a huge name in South Africa as the captain of their national team and one of the best batsmen in the sport. His reputation was destroyed in 1999 though, when he was recorded offering to fix matches in return for money.
After the recording – which also implicated three other players – came to light, Cronje was banned from playing cricket for life.
Despite this, he was still voted the 11th greatest South African in 2001. Cronje tragically died in a plane crash a year later, aged just 32.
8. Tonya Harding – Figure Skating
Tonya Harding’s story is without doubt the most serious on this list, as it’s the only one that led to the injury of an opponent.
Going into the 1994 US Figure Skating Championships, Harding’s main competitor was Nancy Kerrigan. Kerrigan, however, was attacked after a practice session, forcing her to withdraw.
It turned out that the attack was planned by Harding (although she denies this), along with three others – including Shane Stant, the man who carried out the attack.
Harding was sentenced to three years of probation, 500 hours of community service and given a huge fine. She was banned from USFSA events for life.
9. Diego Maradona – Soccer
This entry is the only one on the list that didn’t see the athlete in question punished even though there is proof.
Video evidence proves that Diego Maradona definitely broke the rules in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final against England:
However, he did also score one of the finest World Cup goals ever seen in the match too.
During the match, Maradona challenged for a header near the goal, but instead directed the ball into the net clearly using his hand – something the referee failed to spot.
After the match, Maradona said it was the “Hand of God” – unsurprisingly this didn’t go down too well with England supporters.
10. Barry Bonds – Baseball
Barry Bonds was one of the biggest stars in baseball, but he got caught in possibly the biggest steroids scandal to ever hit sport.
This came after Bonds had broken the record for the most home runs scored by any player – a record that still stands, despite him being found to have used drugs.
Along with other major names, such as Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, he was found to have used steroids to enhance his performance.
Some still claim that Bonds is one of the greatest players ever, while others now disregard him due to his use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Enjoyed this? Be sure to check out our list of 10 sports stars who smoke.