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Top 15 Superstar Athletes Accused of Cheating

For as long as sports have been around, so, too, has the effort to gain an edge on the competition. Sometimes, this involves noble endeavors such as training hard, practicing endlessly and addressing facets of your skill set that require some fine-tuning. Other times, however, the effort to better one's result and one's standing in a sport can be a little more under-handed. Sports are nothing if not competitive in nature, so those desperate to remain in step with their rivals can - and have - turn to nefarious, illegal means of one-upmanship.

For some, the temptation to cheat can be understood, if not condoned. A minor league baseball player, for instance, may recognize that his only possible path to the major leagues - and, with it, major league pay days - is to 'juice up' and partake in a steroid regiment. Less understandable, though, is the need for elite superstar athletes to cheat. Ostensibly, their natural talent has elevated them into a rarefied air which helps them reign as one of the very best at what they do.

Intriguingly, this list is comprised exclusively of athletes who had already achieved greatness when they opted to journey down a dark path to cheater-dom. It's always possible that these superstars had gone undetected as cheaters for a time up until they no longer could. That logic may hold up as being plausible for old-time cheaters on this list, such as Ty Cobb, Whitey Ford and Gaylord Perry. But that logic begins to stretch credulity as we enter the modern era of TV-fueled scrutiny, media intensification and technology-driven testing procedures.

Whether these cheating athletes were doing so for the first time or were finally caught after a lengthy history of sly practices, they all share a common trait as superstars whose deceitful trickery was ultimately exposed.

15 Whitey Ford

via waytofamous.com

14 Stella Walsh

via phactual.com

13 Boris Onischenko

via espn.co.uk

12 Thierry Henry

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

11 Gaylord Perry

via mlb.mlb.com

10 Hansie Cronje

via quotationof.com

9 Paula Radcliffe

via ibtimes.co.uk

8 Ty Cobb

via mensjournal.com

7 Diego Maradona

via telegraph.co.uk

6 Mike Tyson

via rollingstone.com

5 The Mitchell Report Group

via content.time.com

4 Tonya Harding

via telegraph.co.uk

3 Tom Brady

James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

2 Lance Armstrong

via mediajam.co.nz

1 Alex Rodriguez

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Rodriguez's name was not found in George Mitchell's 2007 report, but that represents one of the few times when A-Rod has not been connected to performance-enhancing drugs. Rodriguez, himself, went on 60 Minutes in 2007 to proclaim his innocence to host Katie Couric. However, after a 2009 Sports Illustrated report identified him as one of the positive tests that emerged during MLB's 2003 survey testing, he changed his tune and admitted to steroid abuse in the early 2000's. Even then, though, he claimed that he hadn't taken anything since that time, only to later be linked to the more current Biogenesis scandal.

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Top 15 Superstar Athletes Accused of Cheating