10 controversial Olympic disqualifications of years past
Eight female badminton players have become the latest Olympians to be disqualified from the London Games, joining a long line of athletes who have suffered a similar fate at the global event in years past.
The Badminton World Federation made the announcement Wednesday after concluding that the players – four from South Korea, two from China and two from Indonesia – had tried to lose doubles matches in order to land a more favourable draw in the tournament. The federation cited them for "not using one's best efforts to win a match."
Disqualifications at the Olympics are nothing new. Athletes have been barred from competition for all manner of reasons: cheating, political provocation, even beating up athletic officials.
Angel Matos (2008)
Cuban taekwando fighter Angel Matos was banned from competition for life after the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where he kicked a referee in the face during a match. Matos was unhappy he had been disqualified over a timeout violation.
Arash Miresmaili (2004)
In 2004, Iranian judo fighter Arash Miresmaili was disqualified for weighing in at nearly two kilograms above the limit for his weight class ahead of a match against an Israeli opponent. Apparently, Miresmaili had gone on an eating binge to protest the IOC's recognition of the state of Israel.
Iran does not recognize the state of Israel, and Miresmaili's actions won praise from high-ranking Iranian officials. Mohammad Khatami, the country's president at the time, was quoted as saying the judoist's actions would be "recorded in the history of Iranian glories."
Ross Rebagliati (1998)
B.C. snowboarder Ross Rebagliati was stripped of his gold medal at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan, after he tested positive for marijuana. He appealed the decision, saying he must have been exposed to second-hand smoke at a party. The medal was reinstated days after it was revoked.
Ben Johnson (1988)
In 1988, Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson also had his gold medal rescinded after winning the 100-metre sprint against his American rival, Carl Lewis. Johnson tested positive for steroids after the race.
Evander Holyfield (1984)
Four years earlier in Los Angeles, American boxer Evander Holyfield was disqualified from the gold-medal match for hitting his New Zealand opponent after a break. Holyfield had been the dominant fighter, but was awarded the bronze medal.
Soviet male pentathlon team (1976)
The Soviet Union's male pentathlon team was disqualified from the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. One of the team's members, Boris Onischenko, was found to have tampered with his épée (or sword) so that he could score points electronically without actually striking his opponent.
U.S. runners (1968)
In Mexico City in 1968, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, two black Olympians from the United States, won gold and bronze, respectively, in the 200-metre race. Once on the podium, Smith and Carlos gave the "Power to the People" salute, while white Australian silver medallist Peter Norman wore a badge of the Olympic Project for Human Rights, in support of their protest.
International Olympic Committee president Avery Brundage suspended Smith and Carlos from the U.S. team for making a political statement during the ceremony and they voluntarily moved out of the Olympic village.
East German female lugers (1968)
At the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France, three East German athletes in the women's luge race were disqualified after officials found that they had been heating up the runners on their sleds before competing.
Bertil Sandstrom (1932)
Olympic officials demoted Swedish equestrian Bertil Sandstrom from second place to last during a 1932 dressage competition in Los Angeles, saying that he had broken the rules by "clicking" to his horse in encouragement.
John Carpenter (1908)
British runner Wyndham Halswelle won the gold medal in the men's 400-metre race during the London Olympics in 1908. American John Carpenter had originally won the event, but he was disqualified for blocking Halswelle – a manoeuvre that was legal under American rules, but not under British rules.
A second race was ordered but Carpenter and his American teammate, John Taylor, decided to protest the decision by not running. As a result, Halswelle was the only medallist in the event.