The Deceit and Corruption of Famous Sports Incidents

XVII Olympic Winter Games
XVII Olympic Winter Games / Mike Powell/GettyImages

Competitiveness remains the most manifest characteristic of sporting activities, whether you play a combative sport like taekwondo or a more strategic game like chess. The drive to win in a tough matchup against an equally motivated opponent is second to none; likewise, the thrill of a hard-won victory is overwhelming.

Thus, all sports have common concepts that create pressure, showcase passion, and bring out the best in players, or in this case, the worst. Sadly, second place doesn't have a place in this world, and overambitious players resort to winning by hook or crook. Sometimes they make poor choices and take bizarre steps that come back to haunt and hurt them. Here are 30 of the biggest sports scandals ever recorded.

Rosie, the Ducking Runner

Marathons are one of the toughest sports challenges and require extreme cardiovascular and mental stamina to complete—not necessarily win. Yet, despite all of these, Ruiz didn't break a sweat when she crossed the finish line in the 1990 Boston Marathon in a record time of two hours and thirty-one minutes.

When Ruiz was interviewed as the first woman to finish the arduous race, she said she woke up bustling with energy. Despite her response, the organizers were suspicious of what was recorded as a two-hour run. They decided to conduct an investigation and stripped her of her win eight days later after discovering that she had taken the easy route by joining the race with half a mile to go.

When Faith Becomes a Fraud 

On August 24, 1989, former manager and professional baseball player Pete Rose accepted a lifetime ban after a Major League Baseball investigation ruled that he bet on the Cincinnati Reds to win when he was the club manager. His unusual confidence in his team sparked suspicion among MLB stakeholders. In reality, his confidence was pretty normal, but the issue was that he was willing to bet on his claim.

The rules prohibited anyone who could influence a sport to bet on the results, so when Rose's numerous $10,000 bets were exposed in 1989, he had to face the brunt. As a result, the league banned him from all baseballing activities for life and from entering the Red's stadium.

Keeping Emotions in Check

Every professional sportsperson has battled jealousy at some point in their career because we all want to enjoy more success and attention. Like every professional, Tonya Harding faced this monster but let her emotions get the better of her. On January 4, 1994, the former professional figure skater hired someone to violently attack her teammate Nancy Kerrigan at the Detroit Cobo Arena.

She intended to take out her Kerrigan, a contender for an Olympic medal, and stop her from going to the Winter Olympics scheduled to start a month later. Instead, after investigations were concluded, Harding was handed a USFSA life ban and stripped of her 1994 national championships title, while Kerrigan went on to win silver.

Camouflaging as an Amateur Athlete

The Olympics as we know it now wasn't always this free-for-all; back in the day, it had very stringent rules. For example, people who had been paid for sports, even as school sports masters, weren't allowed to compete, and it was strictly an amateur competition. Jim Thorpe defied this rule and traveled for the Stockholm Olympic Games in 1912, where he bagged two gold medals in the pentathlon and decathlon.

His joy turned sour in 1912 when the International Olympic Committee discovered that he had been paid $2 per week while playing for a professional baseball team. The IOC seized his medals, and Thorpe was banned from future competitions. In 1982, 70 years after the scandal, they revoked the ban and restored his achievements.