Their victories are celebrated around the world. They receive medals, praise, and quite a lot of money.
Most of them deserve recognition as they train for years for a race that only lasts a couple of minutes.
Unfortunately, some cheat their way to the top, most often by taking illegal drugs to strengthen their bodies. Others are more creative, and you’ll be amazed by some of their tricks.
Here’s a look at 10 of the most shameful cases of athletes caught cheating at the Olympic games.
10 Marion Jones
For American track and field athlete Marion Jones, the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, was the peak of her career. That summer, she won three gold medals and two bronze medals.
She was on top of the world until tests showed she was using steroids to boost her performance. The best moment of her life turned into a nightmare as she was stripped of all her medals.
A few years later, she was involved in a check fraud scheme and ended up doing six months in jail.
9 Tony Hansen
This story is a bit unusual as it is not only the athlete that took illegal substances. Norwegian Tony Hansen pumped up his horse with banned drugs in preparation for the Beijing Summer Olympics 2008.
He won a bronze medal at the team jumping event but was stripped of his medal after the horse tested positive for a Cayenne pepper extract known to boost performance.
The worst part is that the substance hurts horses by making their joints inflamed. Such a cruel thing to do!
8 Lance Armstrong
You’ve heard about him. For many years, cyclist Lance Armstrong was celebrated as one of the greatest athletes of all time.
He won the famous Tour de France multiple times, and he even got a gold medal at the Olympics.
Unfortunately for him, in 2012, a federal judge ruled that Armstrong had been cheating practically the whole time, using growth hormones, diuretics, and blood transfusions to enhance his performance.
He was stripped of all his titles and banned from international competitions.
7 Ben Johnson
Canadian Ben Johnson was considered one of the world’s best athletes when he won the 100m race at the 1998 Seoul Summer Olympics.
However, it was later established that Johnson was taking anabolic steroids and was stripped of his title.
The gold medal went to Carl Lewis, who, ironically, had also been suspected of doping, but lucky for him, the initial ruling in his case was overturned.