10 Of The Worst Sports Cheaters In History

They didn't tamper with balls or stick sandpaper down their pants - but they still played dirty

Kirsten Curtis |

The Aussies aren’t the first to flout the rules and risk their careers to gain an advantage over their opponents. Here are a few other famous cheats in the world of sport. How many do you remember?

10. Boris Onishchenko – Hacking The Fencing Sword

In the sport of fencing, a little LED light is attached to the participants’ epee (fencing sword) to signal whether they have successfully struck their opponent. At the 1976 Olympics, Boris Onishchenko had managed to rig his weapon with a devious device which allowed him to control the signal at the press of a button hidden in the sword’s handle.

This was discovered after his light began flickering randomly during a match, and his epee had to be investigated. He was soon disqualified.

9. Harlequins Rugby Team – (Fake) Blood, Sweat and Tears

During the Heineken Cup competition of 2009, English rugby club Harlequins used blood capsules to fake an injury so that they could substitute a player who could only be taken off the field due to injury. The team was given a hefty fine, and the player, Tom Williams, was suspended for four months. Talk about bleeding for your team!

Related: Werner Kok’s Guide To Beastly Upper-Body Strength

8. Sergio Motsoeneng – The Comrades Twins

Sergio Motsoeneng ran the first 45 minutes of the 1999 Comrades Marathon before he exchanged vests and shoes with his identical twin brother, Fika, in a mobile toilet along the route. Motsoeneng ended up finishing ninth. They were caught ‘red handed’ when pictures showed them wearing watches on opposite wrists. They admitted guilt and were suspended from the race by the Comrades Association for ten years.

7. Diego Maradona – Hand Of God

You’ve probably heard this one before. It was the 1986 World Cup Final. Argentina against England in front of an amped Mexican crowd. It was a stalemate for the first 45 minutes, setting up the second half to be an intense showdown. Luckily for Argentina, their captain and number 10, Maradona, just happened to be the greatest player of his generation.

After some impressive dribbling, the ball was lobbed towards Maradona as he raced towards the opposition goal, putting the English goalie on high alert. Both players leaped towards the airborne ball, but Maradona’s head could not reach the ball and he ended up scoring with his hand. The English protested to the referee claiming that it was a handball, but the official had not noticed it, and the goal was given.

6. Rosie Ruiz – “Winning” The Boston Marathon

In 1980, Rosie Ruiz had won the Boston Marathon, but was later stripped of the title when it was discovered that she had left the race, taken the subway, and then joined the race half a mile from the finish. Suspicions arose when her time was a full 25 minutes faster than her qualifying time at the New York Marathon – which, it turned out, she had also cheated by riding the subway.

Related: Prevent Running Related Injuries With These 4 Exercises

5. Hansie Cronje – Match-fixing

A beloved captain and national hero, soon turned villain by one of cricket’s biggest match-fixing scandals in history. During South Africa’s cricket tour of India in the year 2000, Proteas captain Cronje made some lucrative deals with an Indian bookmaker. Hansie was instructed to throw matches or convince his teammates to underperform, favouring the opposition. The police in New Delhi soon uncovered the situation, resulting in Cronje losing his captaincy. He confessed to his crimes at the King Commission.

4. Ben Johnson – Enhancement Drugs

At the 1988 Olympics, Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson had set a new world record in the 100-metre dash by finishing in 9.79 seconds. About 24 hours later, he was stripped of his gold medal and the world record after failing a drug test. He later admitted that he had been using steroids since 1981, and was suspended for two years. In 1993 he was caught again and then banned for life from competing.

3. The Spanish “Paralympic” Basketball Team – Not Disabled

In 2000, Spain won the Paralympic gold medal for basketball. The only problem was that 10 out of the 12 players did not qualify as disabled. The players had purposefully failed an IQ test in order to  participate. After this was revealed, the Spanish team was disqualified and had to return their medals.

2. Tonya Harding – The Attack On Nancy Kerrigan

Figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was attacked by a man the night before the 1994 US Figure Skating Championship, breaking her leg and forcing her out of the competition. The attacker was sent by rival skater Tonya Harding’s husband. Harding was later banned from the sport by the US Olympic committee. “I, Tonya” (2017) is a movie which stars Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding and follows the life of the skater and her connection to the attack in 1994.

1. Lance Armstrong – Doping

The famous cyclist was formally stripped of the seven Tour de France titles he had won from 1999 to 2004 after it was revealed that he was using performance-enhancing drugs and for playing an instrumental role in supplying his teammates with enhancement drugs throughout those years. As a result of his doping offences, Armstrong was banned from sanctioned cycling events for life.

Related: Kings Of The Road: Running Vs Cycling, Who Wins?

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