During the modern day Olympics, there have been several memorable moments. Some of them were memorable for great reasons, and other were memorable because of an infamous reason.  This list is about the latter.  It covers the Olympic scandals that these great athletes wish could be forgotten.

  • Frederick Lorz (1904)
    • During the 1904 Olympics, Fred Lorz competed in the marathon.  While running this marathon, he became exhausted after the first nine miles and had his manager give him a ride in his car for the next eleven miles.  After the car broke down, Lorz continued the race on foot to the Olympic Stadium, broke the finishing tape and was greeted as the winner of the race.  Initially, he went along with everything and acted as though he had won, before eventually admitting to what had actually happened.
  • The Halswelle Scandal (1908)
    • Wyndham Halswelle reached the final for the 400 meter with the fastest qualifying time.  During the final race, Halswelle was baulked by William Robbins.  On the final bend, William Robbins led John Carpenter by a yard.  During the last straight, Carpenter ran wide and prevented Halswelle from overtaking the lead.  A British umpire, Roscoe Badger, observed that Carpenter maneuvered to prevent Halswelle from passing. This was a legal move under USA rules, however, it was not legal under British rules.  Since the Olympics were in London, they followed the British rules.  The race was declared void and ordered to be rerun in lanes two days later without Carpenter.  Since Carpenter and the other two runners were all American, they all refused to run the do-over race. Halswelle ran the race by himself for the gold.
  • Jim Thorpe (1912)
    • Jim Thorpe won two gold medals at the 1912 Olympics. However, in January 1913, it was discovered that Thorpe had made money playing professional baseball.  Since this made him a professional, not an amateur, the IOC (International Olympic Committee) stripped him of his medals.  His medals were later returned in 1983, thirty years after his death.
  • Stella Walsh (1936)
    • During the 1936 Olympics, Stella Walsh was defeated by Helen Stephens.  Stephens was accused of being a male by Walsh and forced to submit to a genital inspection which showed that Stephens was a female.  However, when Walsh was tragically killed during a robbery, an autopsy showed that Walsh possessed male genitalia.
  • 1968 Black Power Salute
    • The black power salute was a political demonstration conducted by African American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos during the medal ceremony.  During the American National Anthem, they raised a black-gloved fist and held it in the air until the anthem was finished.  In his autobiography, Silent Gesture, Tommie Smith stated that it was a “human rights gesture and not a black power salute”.
  • Olympic Men’s Basketball Final (1972)
    • The 1972 Olympic Basketball final was the first loss for team USA in Olympic Basketball history.  The game hit its climax during the last few seconds of the game.  The United States hit two free throws to take a 50-49 lead.  After the free throws were hit, the Soviets inbounded the ball and the refs stopped the game with one second remaining.  The Soviets claimed they had called a timeout between the two US free throws, however the game official never acknowledged any timeout.  The second time the ball was inbounded, the horn sounded signaling an apparent US victory.  Moments later, however, the teams were called back to the court because the clock had not been properly reset to show three seconds remaining.  The Soviets now had a third chance to win the game.  This time, the Soviets caught a full court pass under the basket and laid it up for the 51-50 win.  After the game, the US filed a formal complaint with the International Basketball Federation and the five-person panel ruled in favor of the Soviets.
  • Boris Onishchenko (1976)
    • During the 1976 Olympics Pentathlon, Boris Onishechenko illegally modified his epee so that it included a switch allowing him to collect points without actually depressing the tip of the epee into anything.  Afterwards Boris became known as “Boris the Cheat” and the USSR Men’s Volleyball team threatened to throw him out of a window if they saw him.  He had to be removed from the Olympic Village by Soviet Officials the night he was disqualified.  He returned to his home town of Kiev and two months later he was called before the Soviet Leader Leonid Brezhnev to be scolded and dismissed from the Red Army as well as stripped of all of his sporting honors and fined 5000 Roubles.  Today he work as a taxi driver in Kiev.
  • Madeline and Margaret De Jesus (1984)
    • During the 1984, Summer Olympics Madeline De Jesus came up lame while competing in the long jump.  Madeline had an identical twin sister named Margaret who was in attendance.  Disguised as her sister, Margaret ran the the second leg of the qualifier and the team advanced.  When the coach of the Puerto Rican team found out what was going on, he pulled his team out of the finals.
  • Decker vs. Budd (1984)
    • During the 1984 Olympics, the 3000 meter race was billed as Budd vs. Decker.  Seventeen hundred meters into the race, the first collision occurred. However, both runners were able to maintain their position.  Five strides later, they again made contact when Budd’s left foot brushed Decker’s thigh. The contact caused Budd to lose her balance and sent her into Decker’s path.  Budd was jeered by the crowd, however, an IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federation) jury found that she was not responsible for the collision.
  • Roy Jones Jr. vs. Park Si-Hun (1988)
    • Roy Jones Jr. had dominated the entire Olympics, never losing a single round on his way to the finals.  The gold medal fight was also dominated by Roy Jones Jr. who landed 86 punches to Park Si-Hun’s 32.  Despite Jones Jr. clearly dominating the fight, the judges awarded the gold medal to Park Si-Hun.  It was later determined that the judges were placating  the home crowd, and the judges admitted afterwards that they had made a mistake.  There were even rumors that the judges were wined and dined by the South Koreans, however, no proof of this was found.  After an investigation, two of the judges were banned for life from the Olympic Games.
  • Ben Johnson (1988)
    • On September 24, 1988, Ben Johnson became the first sprinter from Canada to win the 100 Meter final since 1928.  However, after the race it was determined that Johnson’s blood samples contained Stanozolol and was disqualified three days later.  Many people spoke out about this incident saying that Johnson was one of many cheaters, but he just happened to get caught.
  • Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding Saga (1994)
    • During the 1994 Winter Olympics, Nancy Kerrigan was attacked after a practice session.  It was determined that Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillov, and her bodyguard, Shawn Eckhardt, hired Shane Stant to break Kerrigan’s right leg.  After Stant could not find her at her practice facility in Massachusetts, he followed her to Detroit where he carried out the attack by stabbing her in the thigh just above the knee.  The injury forced Kerrigan out of the national championships that year.  However, both Kerrigan and Harding were selected to the 1994 Olympic team where Harding finished 8th and Kerrigan took the silver.
  • Romanian Doping Scandal (2000)
    • During the 2000 Olympics, Andreea Madalina Raducan did very well in her events, helping her team to their first gold medal since 1984.  Several days after the competition concluded, the IOC announced that Raducan had tested positive for Pseudo-ephedrine which was a banned substance.  Raducan and her coaches maintained her innocence stating that she was following a treatment plan put forward by her doctor.  Despite strong appeals, Raducan was stripped of her gold.  Afterwards, it was concluded that Raducan was just following a treatment plan and she should not be subject to the sporting ban that is usually involved in doping cases. However, she would not be able to retain her gold medal.
  • Figure Skating Scandal (2002)
    •   During the 2002 Olympics, there were allegations that the pairs figure skating competition was fixed.  Suspicion arose after the Russians won the gold medal despite making a technical error during their free skate while the Canadians skated perfectly.  Afterwards, cheating allegations arose immediately and were aimed at the French judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne.  When Le Gougne was confronted, she reportedly said she had been pressured by the head of the French skating organization to vote for the Russians in an apparent deal to get advantage for France in the ice dancing competition.  Le Gougne later denied these allegations.  After an investigation, Le Gougne was suspended and the Canadians were upgraded to gold medals.  The Russians were also allowed to keep their gold medals since they did nothing wrong.
  • Russian Doping Scandal (2016)
    • An independent WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) commissioned report said Russia operated a state sponsored doping program during the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.  The report stated Russia’s Ministry of Sport directed, controlled and oversaw the manipulation of athletes analytical results or sample swapping with active participation and assistance of the FSO (Federal Protective Service), CSP (Center of Sports Participation)  and both Moscow and Sochi laboratories.  It was recommended that Russia be banned from the 2016 Olympics.
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