World Photos·Photos

Sports cheating: 10 notorious scandals

An explosive report from the World Anti-Doping Agency carries new revelations about the use of performance-enhancing drugs by athletes. But sports and cheating have a long history. Here are 10 of the most notorious examples.

Everything from drugs, knee-capping of a rival and underarm urine pumps

An explosive report from the World Anti-Doping Agency carries new revelations about the use of performance-enhancing drugs by athletes. But sports and cheating have a long history.

Ben there, done that

(Gary Hershorn/Reuters)
In one of the most exciting moments in Canada's sports history, sprinter Ben Johnson won gold in the 100 metres at the 1988 Seoul Olympics in a record-smashing time of 9.79 seconds. A day later, he was stripped of his gold after failing a drug test. Six of the eight sprinters in that Olympic final were linked with drug use at some point during their careers.

Glory erased

(Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters) (Reuters)
After beating cancer and winning a record seven Tour de France titles, American Lance Armstrong was seemingly invincible. Rumours of drug use were vehemently denied, but his cheating was eventually revealed in a 2012 report by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and later in a confession to Oprah Winfrey. He was banned from cycling and stripped of his seven tour titles.

Hitting rock bottom

(Jeff Zelevansky/Reuters)
American track and field star Marion Jones was among the most famous female athletes in the world after she won three gold and two bronze medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. In 2008 she was sentenced to six months in jail for lying to federal investigators about her use of performance-enhancing drugs and a cheque fraud scheme.

Break a leg

Tonya Harding won the 1994 U.S. figure skating title after her main rival, Nancy Kerrigan, was attacked by an assailant who clubbed her above the knee. Kerrigan recovered to earn a silver medal at the Lillehammer Olympics, where Harding finished eighth. Harding was later banned from figure skating for life after she pleaded guilty to helping to cover up a plot involving her ex-husband and his friends to break Kerrigan's leg.

Not so straight A

(Danny Moloshok/Reuters)
New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez is a 14-time all-star with a record that makes him one of the best to have ever played baseball. But A-Rod has admitted to using steroids while he played with the Texas Rangers from 2001 to 2003, and he was suspended for the entire 2014 season after being linked to the Biogenesis clinic, which supplied performance-enhancing drugs to numerous athletes.

Here's looking at you, kid

Irish swimmer Michelle Smith was a surprise star at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, where she seemed to have come out of nowhere to earn three gold medals. Rumours of drug use surfaced, but Smith has never admitted to it. She received a four-year ban two years later, however, after tampering with her urine sample when officials said it appeared to have been spiked with whisky.

Crash and burn

Greek sprinter Kostas Kenteris won gold in the 200 metres in Sydney in 2000 and was a favourite to repeat in 2004 in Athens. He and his training partner, Katerina Thanou, were carrying heavy expectations to succeed on home ground, but missed mandatory drug tests on the eve of the Games and withdrew, they said, because they had been in a motorcycle accident. They were given suspended 31-month sentences after being charged with staging the crash, and seven doctors and two eyewitnesses were convicted of perjury in the case. An appeal decision later cleared everyone involved.

Just take this

(John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images)
In the 1980s, East German shot putter Heidi Krieger was unknowingly given massive doses of anabolic steroids by her trainers, altering her sexual characteristics. She later underwent a sex change to become Andreas Krieger in 1997, and has since campaigned against doping in sports.

Stretching a point

(Aly Song/Reuters)
Scoring hits in Olympic fencing is done electronically. The Soviet men's pentathlon team was disqualified from the 1976 Montreal Olympics when one of the team's members, Boris Onischenko, was found to have tampered with his épée (or sword) so that he could trigger points electronically without actually striking his opponent.

Mind the P's and Q's

(Lee Jae-Won/Reuters)
During the 1978 Tour de France, Belgian cyclist Michel Pollentier was asked to submit to a drug test after earning the leader's yellow jersey. Officials noticed him pumping his arm suspiciously while he submitted a urine sample. When they asked him to lift his jersey, they discovered a plumbing system designed to deliver a clean sample of urine pumped from a bulb held under his arm. He was handed a two-month suspension. Anti-doping officials are currently supposed to watch carefully while athletes urinate for a sample.

With files from The Associated Press and Reuters


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.