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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Scandals in the history of Olympics

1. Hit and caught

Involvement of eight badminton players in the match-fixing scandal has tarnished the glory of London Olympics 2012. But, there are many other scandals hidden in the Olympian cupboards.

Hit and caught

This is said to be the mother of all sports scandals. Figure skater Tonya Harding organised a hit on her main rival, Nancy Kerrigan, hoping her injuries would rule Kerrigan out of the ’94 Olympic team. Kerrigan recovered in time to win the silver, and Harding finished eighth. When the truth emerged, Harding was stripped of her awards and given a lifetime ban from figure skating.


2. Sisters or brothers

Sisters or brothers

There are jokes about the shotputters and weightlifters being ‘chicks with dicks’. In this instance, they very well may have been! Notably huge manly, Russian sisters (brothers?) Irina and Tamara Press won 5 golds and a silver during their Olympic appearances in 1960 and 1964. When it was announced that compulsory gender testing was to be introduced, the pair mysteriously retired…


3. Cheating


Cheating’s not a new thing. And Fred Lorz nearly got away with the gold despite some serious deception in 1904. During the marathon, he hopped into his manager’s car to ‘regain some strength’ due to his apparent exhaustion and he stayed in there for nearly 11 miles! Lorz hopped out, finally, to finish the race on foot (in first place, of course) – but he hadn’t escaped the notice of the spectators. They dobbed him in, earning an instant disqualification.


4. Fixing fence

Fixing fence

It required some balls to try this on. Maybe that’s why Boris Onishchenko couldn’t manage it. At the 1976 games, Boris was busted for fixed his fencing sword, so it registered hits without touching anything.


5. Bloodsport


The infamous waterpolo match between Hungary and the USSR in 1956 was one gory scandal. The two countries were at war, and the players mixed their sport with their politics. Punches and kicks were exchanged, blood was spilled, and eventually the match got so ugly that the police was called in to clear the area in an attempt to prevent serious rioting.


6. Clockwork


In 1972 in Munich, the US basketball team triumphed over Russia, winning the gold 50-49. Or so they thought. After the game ended, the players were told a time-out wasn’t called – giving them a minute left to play. Once that minute was up (with no points scored) celebrations began again … until the officials told them the clock needed resetting. Well, you can guess the rest – Russia scored to win the game, and controversy has surrounded the match ever since.


7. Munich Massacre

Munich Massacre

The most horrific occurence in Olympic history occurred in 1972, when terrorist group ‘Black September’ murdered eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team. The terrorists had ties with Yasser Arafat’s organisation, and the killings were performed for the simple reason that the coaches and competitors were Israelis.

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