Many in the world are still coming to terms with the fact that Usain Bolt will no longer be considered a triple-three Olympic champion. While this unfortunate event is no fault of Bolt’s but rather a teammate of his in the 4×100 relay in the 2008 Olympics, it goes to show the extent to which doping and other cases of cheating in sports have affected sports globally. We have compiled a list of the greatest sports cheaters of all time. These biggest cheaters in sports were prepared to do whatever it took to ensure that they emerged victoriously.
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10. Ben Johnson
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The men’s 100 meters race has been dubbed by many as “the dirtiest race in history.” Rightfully so, given the incredible number of cases of cheating in sports, that have emerged from that sporting event alone. Of these, probably one of the greatest sports cheaters of all time in this sporting event is Ben Johnson who ran 9.79 seconds at the 1988 Seoul Olympics after displaying some bizarre behavior in the build-up to the race. It didn’t need a urine sample to tell he was under the influence.
9. Fred Lorz and Thomas Hicks
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Cases of cheating in sports did not just emerge in recent times. Throughout sporting, history athletes have taken different measures to achieve their set objectives. Take, for example, the 1904 example of Fred Lorz and Thomas Hicks, two athletes who are probably some of the biggest cheaters in sports history. Fred Lorz had only just been declared the winner of the marathon event at the 1904 St. Louis Olympic games when it was discovered that he had traveled 26.2 miles by car. The runner-up and eventual winner, Thomas Hicks won the race stimulated by brandy and strychnine sulfate. This was a combination that almost cost him his life had he not been treated by a team of doctors at the stadium. Today, allowing such a victory would be unthinkable, but this was over a century ago.
8. Lance Armstrong
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Who would have believed that the renowned American cyclist was one of the greatest sports cheaters of all time? However, his 7 Tour de France titles won from 1999 – 2005 had to be revoked after it was discovered that Lance was part of an elaborate doping scheme with his U.S Postal Service Team. After initial denials, Lance confessed to doping. It took lance another 8 months to return his medals.
7. Marion Jones
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Marion Jones became one of the biggest cheaters in sports after it was discovered that all of her medals won during the Sydney Olympics in 2000 was courtesy doping. This was uncovered thanks to an investigation into BALCO, a laboratory which supplied steroids to numerous high profiles athletes. This investigation exposed what is probably one of the most elaborate cases of cheating in sports.
6. Russian Team
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Nothing could be more demoralizing than realizing that your cherished athlete was a cheat. The worse part is where it is uncovered that the entire nation was in on the act. This was the case of the Russian team which was an integral part of an elaborate doping scandal which ran from 2012 to 2016 when it was uncovered and reported by the New York Times.
5. Diego Maradona
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Despite an established reputation as a cocaine addict which interfered with his health and ability to perform on the pitch, Maradona was loved. This is in spite of the infamous “Hand of God” goal which gained Diego Maradona infamy amongst the greatest sports cheaters of all time. The fact that he was still allowed to play the “beautiful game” while persistently failing drugs text exposed the lackadaisical attitude of soccer to cases of cheating in sports.
4. Jose Canesco
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Jose Canesco did not wait to be fished out for doping. As a matter of fact, Canesco was so desperate for a spot amongst the biggest cheaters in sports that he published a tell-all book in 2005. Titled Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big, the book revealed how almost 85% of baseball players were used stimulants.
3. Tyson Gay
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Considered by many to be the second-fastest man on the planet, Tyson Gay has many doubters and rightly so. After being stripped of his silver medals and suspended for two years from athletic events for testing positive to banned substances, Tyson became one of the biggest cheaters in sports. Despite his grand return to athletics, the scar on his reputation is permanent.
2. Boris Onischenko
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Boris was at the 1976 Montreal Olympics anxious to better his silver medal previously won four years ago in Munich. To this end, the pent athlete bent the rules of the game by using a crooked sword that enabled him to claim an electronic hit even when he had missed. After reported doubts about the authenticity of Boris’s victories, his sword was replaced and he was disqualified. Boris however, qualified for a spot as one of the biggest cheaters in sports.
1. Rosie Ruiz
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Rosie’s innovation highlighted how varied cases of cheating in sports were. Rosie qualified for the Boston Marathon by taking the subway during the New York City Marathon in 1980. At the 1980 Boston Marathon, she had been declared the winner of the female category before it was discovered that she had disappeared into the crowd only to show up at the course a half-mile from the finish line.
This is our list of some of the greatest sports cheaters of all time. In all sporting events, there are always those who feel that bending the rules, and not hard work and perseverance, is the surefire route to victory.