Fred Lorz, 1904.
The American may have started the marathon alongside all the other runners, but at mile 9, Lorz decided running wasn’t the fastest way to finish a race, and jumped in his trainer’s car for another 11 miles. Having jumped out to cross the line and claim victory, it didn’t take long for a fresh-looking Lorz to admit his deception.
Paavo Nurmi, 1932.
He was so good, he got paid for it, and that was the problem. With nine Olympic gold medals, Nurmi is perhaps the greatest middle-distance runner of all time. However, ahead of the Los Angeles Games, Nurmi was deemed a professional and banned from racing, despite having the total support of his competitors.
Power to the People salute, 1968.
Wanting to protest against racism and show their support for human rights, but with only a pair of gloves between them, 200m runners John Carlos and Tommie Smith donned one glove each, stood upon the dais, and raised their fists.
In one of the darkest moments of the Olympic movement, eleven Israeli athletes, coaches and judges were taken hostage and murdered by Palestinian terror group Black September.
African boycott, 1976.
That time New Zealand caused a mass walk-out. Twenty-two African nations refused to attend the 1976 Montreal Games in protest over the All Black rugby tour to South Africa. The boycott would set the stage for anti-apartheid protests during the 1981 Springbok Tour.
Boris Onyschenko, 1976.
Sure, it was cheating, but it was ingenious cheating. During the fencing round of his modern pentathlon event, Onyschenko used an épée with a circuit breaker rigged inside it, allowing him to register a hit whenever he liked. He got caught, and booted out.
Ben Johnson, 1988.
The Canadian sprinter seemed to have entered the history books for destroying the 100m world record, but instead entered the history books for being doped up to his eyeballs. Within days, he went from hero, to villain.
Marion Jones, 2000.
In one of the most dominant athletic displays ever, Marion Jones won five gold medals at the Sydney Games - in the 100m, 200m, long jump, 4x10 and 4x400. Seven years later, Jones pleaded guilty to taking performance enhancing drugs. She would be stripped of her medals and her performances wiped from the books.
Angel Matos, 2008.
The Cuban taekwondo had won gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and was fighting for a bronze eight years later, when he was disqualified by Swedish referee Chakir Chelbat. Matos didn’t like that, and promptly decided to kick Chelbat right in the face. He was promptly suspended for life.
Russian ban, 2016.
Frozen urine samples, Russian spies, fake mouse-holes - they were all part of a complex plan to fool drug testing authorities. Following the discovery that Russian athletes had been taking part in a state-sponsored doping programme, 68 track and field athletes were banned from competing.