Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Infamous Non-Drug-Related Sports Scandals

Sports Illustrated (via SI.com) has a nice photo essay of the top twenty-five non-drug related scandals in sports history. The list is biased towards American scandals (although there are international examples too) and the last 100 years. Nonetheless, I found it fun to browse through.

Here are a few examples from the list:

1. Black Sox scandal, 1919 - When eight Chicago White Sox players were implicated in throwing the World Series against the Reds, it shook the sporting world as nothing had before. Though the guilt or innocence of the players is still debated (did Shoeless Joe Jackson play well anyway? Should Buck Weaver have been barred from the game?), the Black Sox scandal stained baseball's reputation and ruined the game for many.

2. Diego Maradona's World Cup goal, 1986 - Six minutes into the second half of the quarterfinals of the 1986 World Cup, Argentine superstar Diego Maradona scored a goal ... with his left fist. The referee did not see the infringement, and the goal stood, despite protests from the English team. Argentina won the game 2-1 and eventually the World Cup. A few months later Maradona admitted the goal had been scored by his hand and not the "hand of God," his original claim.

7. The Danny Almonte age scandal, 2001 - Almonte led the Rolando Paulino All-Stars to the Little League World Series, where he pitched a perfect game in leading his team to a third-place finish. However, scandal tainted the world of youth sports when the team was stripped of all victories that year and its third-place Little League World Series finish after it was proven Almonte was actually 14, two years older than the Little League age limit.

15. The IOC strips Jim Thorpe of his Olympic medals, 1912 - Thorpe won gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, but was stripped of both medals after it was revealed he had been paid small sums of money to play baseball in 1909 and 1910, when Olympic rules prohibited professional athletes from participating. Many said Thorpe, one of the greatest all-around athletes of all time, was discriminated against because of his ethnic background, a hybrid of Irish, French and American Indian heritages. In 1983 his results were reinstated by the IOC and his medals were returned to his children.

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