Wherever there is competition people will try to get a “leg up” on their opponent. Good sportsmanship has an inherent quality of honesty, integrity, fair competition, and a level playing field. The nature and integrity of sport is destroyed when someone cheats or has an unfair advantage. For the glory to be deserved, and the accolades to be applauded, men and women need to compete according to the rules of the game. The problem is that human nature often gets the best of a human being.
That competitive zeal that says “win at all costs,” or “the end justifies the means” drives a fierce competitor to bend, break, or in some cases, shatter the rules to be crowned the champion. We live in an era of sports where the battle is no longer won through brute strength, hours of training, or precise strategic planning, but we live in a time where the battles are won in chemistry labs, where Performance enhancing drugs are constantly being developed and altered to fly under the radar of the “doping police.” The “Mitchell Report” named hundreds of current and former professional baseball players that tested positive for using anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). Some of these men shattered long-standing records – what should their place be in sports history? Cheaters? You betcha! We live in an era of sports where greed seduces its participants to bet on games and fix games that they can control the outcome of. Perhaps at no time in sports history is it more apropos to say “Cheaters never prosper.” Many perpetrators have gotten away with the ruse for years, but more and more cheaters are being uncovered, and sooner or later cheaters get caught and the sport they represent is scrutinized and shamed. Here we have a list of the 20 biggest cheaters in sports history.
20 20. Brett Hull
19 19. Danny Almonte
18 18. Sylvester Carmouche
Sylvester Carmouche was a jockey in the 1990s. His horse’s name was Landing Officer. His most memorable race came on a foggy day where no one could see the track. Once the gun sounded, instead of going around the mile-long track, Carmouche halted his horse and backed his horse up 200 yards before the finish line and waited for the other horses to come close behind him. He then kicked Landing Officer into full speed across the finish line – everyone thought he had won.
17 17. Rosie Ruiz
16 16. New England Patriots
It all started the “Spygate” scandal. Bill Belichick and team were caught videotaping the New York Jets’ defensive signals during a 2007 game. The NFL has strict rules against sideline cameras, which were being used by the Patriots. NFL Investigators found that this was not the first or only such act by Belichick. He was personally fined $500,000, the Patriots $250,000 and their 1st round draft pick was taken away. Does it create suspicion for an amazing 16-0 regular season?
15 15. Tim Donaghy
14 14. Marion Jones
Marion Jones was a track star who won four medals in the Sydney Olympics. She tried denying for many years that she had used performance enhancing drugs, but that was not the truth. The truth came out in 2004, four years after the Olympic Games, when her drug supplier admitted to giving her five illegal PEDs. These drugs were apparently being used by Jones before, during, and after the Olympic Games.
13 13. Alex Rodriguez
12 12. East German Women’s Swim team
The East German swim team from 1964-1972 struggled to be competitive in the Olympics – bringing home only 11 medals in that span. In an attempt to break the losing cycle the communist government initiated a doping strategy. The swimmers on the subsequent East German teams were unknowingly given performance enhancing drugs - like steroids and hormones - disguised as vitamins.
11 11. Ben Johnson
10 10. Carl Lewis
9 9. Lance Armstrong
8 8. Sammy Sosa
7 7. The 2000 Spanish Paralympics Team
6 6. Dong Fangxiao
5 5. Mike Tyson
4 4. Tonya Harding
Tonya Harding was an amazing figure skater back in the early 90s with the potential to win multiple championships. However, the '92 Olympics featured a disappointing performance and her career seemed to be on the decline. In the months leading up to the ’94 U.S championships, her rival Nancy Kerrigan was beaten by a male perpetrator during a practice. That perpetrator turned out to be hired by Harding’s ex-husband.
3 3. Diego Maradona
2 2. Fred Lorz
1 1. Pete Rose
Pete Rose is the “Hit King” of major league baseball. Retiring in 1986 holding a number of Major League and National League records including the record for hits with 4,256. He became the manager of the Reds in 1984-1989. He is most known for the accusation that he bet on games that he was involved in as a manager. This is strictly forbidden in baseball because as a manager you are in a position to make decisions that could affect the outcome of the game. There was an investigation into the allegations, and Pete Rose voluntarily accepted a permanent place on baseball’s ineligible list in 1989 - giving credibility to the accusations. Being on the ineligible list means that Pete Rose cannot be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He has been trying since 1992 to be reinstated all to no avail.
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