The Chicago Black Sox
Gambling and sports have an intricate, interwoven history, and, to this day, game-fixing is severely restricted in many parts of North America. You can fault the 1919 Chicago White Sox for that, as eight members from the team intentionally lost games to the Cincinnati Reds during the 1919 World Series in exchange for money. Cheating attempts are usually associated with trying to win, but arguably the most infamous one was all about losing.
Although DeflateGate was sneaky, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots’ are no strangers to cheating, having videotaped the New York Jets’ defensive signals during a regular season game. The punishment was stiff—Belichick was fined $500,000, the largest possible amount for coaches, and the Patriots were stripped of their first round draft pick the following year.
The hand of God
Diego Maradona is famous for many reasons—he won two World Cups, was a successful coach, and is widely regarded as one of the best soccer players of all time. His infamy, however, derives mostly from ‘the hand of God’ incident, in which he used his left hand to score the decisive goal in a 2-1 victory against England in the 1986 World Cup semifinal.
In the 1980 Boston Marathon, Rosie Ruiz was the first female competitor to cross the finish line after emerging as a spectator from the crowd in the last few miles. This was not Ruiz’s first cheating attempt–she finished 23rd in the New York Marathon just months earlier after hopping on the Subway for a portion of the race.
Despite all the positive work he has done for cancer through Livestrong, Armstrong’s legacy will forever be tarnished after he was retroactively stripped of his seven straight Tour de France titles because of multiple doping offences. Armstrong had repeatedly denied using performance-enhancing drugs before admitting his indiscretions in a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The whack heard around the world
In January of 1994, figure skater Tonya Harding’s ex-husband and another co-conspirator attacked rival Nancy Kerrigan during the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Harding and Kerrigan had a spirited rivalry after numerous competitions. Harding was not responsible, but she was punished for conspiring to hinder prosecution of the attackers.
Steroids in baseball
Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, and Alex Rodriguez were all generational talents. They have all also been linked to steroid use to enhance their natural abilities. Steroid use was rampant in baseball during the past two decades, but America’s pastime is finally starting to move past a ‘roided era in its history.
The 100-metre dash during the 1988 Summer Olympics was one of the most enthralling 10 seconds in the history of track and field. Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson stole the show with a world record breaking time of 9.79 seconds. One day later, Johnson tested positive for Stanozolol, an anabolic steroid, and was subsequently stripped of his gold medal.
Every year, hundreds of 12-year-old baseball players across the world travel to Williamsport, PA to play in the Little League World Series (LLWS). In 2001, Danny Almonte took the tournament by storm. Almonte struck out 62 of the 72 batters he faced and had a fastball that touched 76 miles per hour, an unfathomable number at the LLWS. Almonte also happened to be 14-years-old.
In the 2000 Paralympic Games, the Spanish basketball team won gold in the ‘intellectual disability’ category. After the Games, however, an undercover journalist unearthed that the players had not undergone the testing needed to prove intellectual disability and 10 of the 12 were fraudulently participating. Needless to say, the Spaniards were stripped of their medals.