When the time comes for the Olympic Games, many people put their business aside and focus on competing athletes in their favorite sports. At the same time, it does not even matter - Summer competition or Winter competition, they always arouse mass interest.
The most popular Winter Olympics in Lillehammer in 1994 drew 204 million spectators. Since the 5th century, when the competition originated in Greece, a lot has changed, probably the Greeks and did not assume about the possibility of competition on the snow. Although new sports have emerged, the Olympics have always been fiercely competitive.
In triathlon and weightlifting, swimming or gymnastics - we want to see representatives of our country on the podium with the coveted medal. It seems that the athletes are ready to give everything for the sake of the desired victory, especially since now the state generously endows its financially successful representatives.
In the history of the Olympics, there were many cases when athletes lost their medals because they broke the rules. Let's talk about ten of the most famous such stories.
Ben Johnson. The famous runner was born in Jamaica but represented Canada during the Olympic Games, where he emigrated in the 1970s. When Ben lived in Ontario, he met Charlie Francis, who became Johnson's athletics coach. The first success for the black athlete came in 1982, when he won two silver medals at the Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Unsurprisingly, Johnson's inclusion in the national Olympic team in 1984 was not surprising. At the Summer Olympics then Ben won two bronze medals, one of which was in the relay 4 x 100 meters. The first gold medal in major competitions was won by the runner in 1986, at the Goodwill Games. Johnson gained recognition in his second homeland, breaking many records set by Canadians.
Johnson's entire career was marked by rivalry with another great runner - Carl Lewis. Many considered the results shown by them to be so phenomenal that it was simply impossible without the use of doping or drugs. At the 1988 Olympics, the rivalry reached its limits. The whole world froze in anticipation of a duel between the two greatest runners - the Olympic champion and the world record holder. In the preliminary race, Lewis came first to the finish line, but Johnson was already triumphant in the final.
But the joy of gold was short-lived - after just 3 days, the triumphant could not pass doping control - an anabolic steroid was found in his urine. Johnson was suspended from sports competition, and his medal was handed over to Lewis. Ben tried to return to athletics in 1991, and even won several competitions. However, after another doping scandal, he ended his career, as he received a lifelong disqualification.
Olga Medvedtseva (Pyleva). This athlete was born in the Krasnoyarsk Territory, Russia. She initially chose a career as a skier, but in 2000, at the age of 25, she decided to move to biathlon. In the same year, she won her first medal at the world championships - in the relay race 4 x 7.5 kilometers. The next year brought her another gold medal in the championship, and again in the relay.
Medvedtseva's career as a biathlete developed rapidly; at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, Olga managed to win gold and silver. For the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Medvedtseva approached in the status of a top athlete, a real contender for medals. And she did not deceive fans by winning the silver medal in the 15 km individual race. However, a stimulating substance, carphedon, was found in her body. As a result, her medal went to the German woman Glago, and Olga herself was suspended from the competition for 2 years.
The original Russian Anti-Doping Committee tried to challenge this decision, citing the fact that the drug was prescribed to treat an ankle injury. Although the truth of this statement has been proven, the verdict has not been changed. The manufacturer was to blame for not specifying the complete list of substances in the medicine and the doctor, who did not agree to take the drug with the specialists of the national team. However, Olga found the strength to return to the big sport - at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, she won gold in the 4 x 6 km relay.
Andrea Raducan. This gymnast was born in Romania. Already at the age of 12, many noted her talent - she possessed all the skills of a future great athlete, performing complex jumps and tricks. In 1998, the Romanian woman won her first serious medal - silver on the balance beam at the European Children's Championship. A year later, she received team gold and individual silver at the World Championships in Tianjin. In 2000, at the World Championships, she again did not remain without medals.
By the 2000 Olympics, Raducan came up as one of the favorites. However, the competition itself was marked by scandals. The equipment was found to be incorrectly installed, which caused injuries to many athletes. But the Romanian was able to win not only in exercises on the horse, but to win the team gold and silver in the vault. Soon, another scandal erupted - Radukan's tests tested positive for pseudoephedrine. This stimulant can also act as a decongestant. The coach said that he gave pills to bring down the fever in the athlete.
Raducan herself said that the drugs made her worse, and they did not help her in any way. As a result, the Romanian was deprived of gold for exercises on a horse, but left two other medals, as tests after those competitions showed the "purity" of the athlete. In 2001, the athlete managed to shine at the Artistic Gymnastics Championship in Ghent, having won several personal medals and gold with the team. Today Andrea works as a sports commentator.
Hans-Gunnar Lillenwal. The athlete was born on July 9, 1941 in Sweden. In order to become a pentathlete, he had to train literally all over the country. Hans-Gunnar's independent career never stood out, but in the company of strong rivals, he showed good results. At the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, the Swede was able to reach 3rd place in the ranking of athletes.
Anti-doping rules were introduced for the 1968 Olympics. And then their first "victim" appeared. It was Hans-Gunnar, who let his team down. As a result, Sweden had to return the bronze, since its representative - Lillenval was corny drunk - doping control found alcohol in his blood. The athlete was not only disqualified, but also went down in the history of the Olympics as the first athlete convicted of taking prohibited substances.
Hans-Gunnar himself admitted that he drank alcohol. He drank two beers to calm his nerves during the break between rounds of competition. It sounds a little crazy today that an athlete was disqualified for just drinking beer, while 14 other athletes used tranquilizers and were not punished, since these substances were not banned then.
Rashid Ramzi. For many years, Rashid Ramzi represented Bahrain at the Olympic Games. The athlete took part in races of 800, 1500 and 5000 meters. The famous athlete received recognition even before his disqualification. At first, Ramzi competed in Morocco, but in 2002 he entered the army and took Bahrain citizenship.
The runner's first success came at the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, where he won the 1500m race. Three years later, Ramzi won the World Championships in Helsinki at distances of 800 and 1500 meters. This made Rashid a prime candidate for victories at such distances. Unsurprisingly, Ramzi qualified for the Olympics.
His first and possibly last appearance at a competition of this level took place in Beijing in 2008. There he won gold in the 1500 meters race. However, the joy did not last long, in April 2009 the Bahrain Olympic Committee announced that traces of CERA, a substance that artificially improves blood circulation, were found in the runner's blood. Both blood samples were positive. The Olympic gold medal was immediately selected, and the athlete's career has not yet resumed.
Marion Jones. This American athlete experienced the biggest disappointment of all on this list, but it was entirely her fault. Her career has flourished with great success. The first victories came to the athlete in college. The first notable success was winning the 100m in the California State Championship. Already at such a young age, Jones was accused of doping, however, thanks to lawyers, the claims were dismissed.
Already at the age of 17, Marion was invited to participate in the selection for the Olympics, but she decided to refuse. The athlete also shone in student basketball, but after an injury in 1996, she could not get to the Olympics, which was the reason to switch only to an athletics career. In 1997, Jones competed at the World Championships in Athens, where she won gold in the 100m and only 10th in the long jump. 1998 and 1999 brought the athlete a whole scattering of medals.
On the eve of the 2000 Olympics, the American announced her desire to win five gold medals at once in all disciplines in which she will take part. As a result, they managed to win three medals of the highest dignity and two bronze ones. But a successful career suddenly cracked. It turned out that the husband of the athlete, CJ Hunter, during the same Olympics was suspended from the competition for doping. The investigation revealed that Jones herself was taking illegal drugs.
The athlete's marriage fell apart, and she had to give up all the medals won since that time. A series of legal proceedings followed, the American woman was accused of fraud, perjury. In 2007, she officially admitted to doping, and in 2008 she even received six months in prison for her activities. Now the woman has returned to her former hobby - playing basketball in the American Women's League.
Ara Abrahamyan. Ara began to practice Greco-Roman wrestling at the age of 8 in Armenia. He was able to become a three-time national champion among juniors. In 1994, he went to Stockholm to compete, but ended up staying in the country, joining its national team. The first participation of an athlete at the Olympics dates back to 2000, Ara took 6th place. But the very next year he won silver at the European Championships and gold at the World Championships. His last major success came at the 2002 World Cup in Russia, where he became champion.
Unlike some other athletes on this list, Abrahamyan was not caught using illegal drugs. He did not use steroids to enhance his strength. Speaking at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Abrahamyan emotionally opposed the tough waging of his opponents. Upon receiving his bronze medal, Ara threw it to the ground in protest against the corruption of the judges. For this, the IOC decided to leave the athlete without a medal and impose a disqualification. The athlete began to sue for his rights, in 2009 the disqualification was canceled, but the won award was never returned to Abrahamyan.
Lyudmila Blonskaya. Some athletes get their share of fame from such scandalous stories. Ukrainian Lyudmila Blonskaya is just one of them. Lyudmila successfully performed in long jump and pentathlon. From 5 to 10 years old, she managed to do gymnastics and basketball, cycling and judo, and from the age of 14 she devoted all her strength to athletics.
At the age of 16, she appeared at the Ukrainian Championship among juniors, winning silver in the heptathlon. Since 1995, she moved to Kiev, where her career reached a new level. Lyudmila graduated from the university, became a physical education teacher and trainer. In 2000, the girl got married, having given birth to a child the next year.
It would seem that after such twists of fate it would be unrealistic to return to big sport, but Blonskaya tried to do it. She won the national championship in 2002 and got to the European Championship in Munich, but was unable to shine there. As a result, only 13th place, and soon a positive doping test result also came. Lyudmila was about to appeal this, but she simply did not have money for appeals and lawyers. She gave birth to a child again and returned to the sport.
In 2005, Blonskaya won the Universiade in Turkey, although at the 2006 European Championships she was left without medals. Before the 2008 Olympics, Lyudmila won a number of victories at major competitions. Beijing brought her silver in the heptathlon, but Blonskaya was again caught doping. Since this violation was already repeated, the athlete was disqualified for life, and the medal was taken away.
Alain Baxter. This athlete is one of the most successful and famous Scottish skiers. He achieved his greatest success in slalom. Alain's parents were both members of the British ski team, so genes definitely played a role. In 1991, Baxter entered the England national team, although he was only 16 at the time. Despite such a young age, Alain was able to break some records and set his own. However, the 2002 Olympics were both successful and disastrous for the British alpine skier.
Baxter was able in 2002 to become the first skier from the UK to win a medal in this sport. To prove everyone was happy for his bronze medal, Baxter dyed his hair the colors of the Scottish flag, which led to a protest from the British Olympic Committee. After all, the athlete represented this particular kingdom, and not his native Scotland. Despite the removal of the paint, the colors remained distinguishable. Alain returned home, where he was well received by fans. However, it soon turned out that a small amount of methamphetamine was found in the athlete's blood.
The IOC disqualified the athlete and took the won medal. It turned out that the prohibited substance was contained in the nasal inhaler that Alain was being treated with. Unfortunately, the drug made in the United States had other constituent components, which served as the basis for the sports tragedy. The IOC took note of these arguments, limiting the suspension to only three months, but the medal was never returned. Baxter returned to the sport, retiring in 2009. On his final descent, he rode in a Scottish kilt and drank whiskey.
Jim Thorpe. This athlete is truly legendary. The American was born in 1888. Success seemed to accompany him in all the sports in which he took part. Legends say that the beginning of his career was laid in 1907, when the young man was cleaning the stadium. He easily conquered the bar, which showed the best result of the day for high jumpers. Young talent was noticed by the coach. In addition to athletics, Jeep was also involved in football professionally. In 1909, Jim disappeared from sight, it was believed that he was simply earning money somewhere.
However, the coaches found him, and Thorpe himself easily qualified for the 1912 Olympics. In Stockholm, he took part in the pentathlon and decathlon. These were new sports back then, but Jim was great at them. He also took part in long and high jump. Thorpe managed to win gold in the pentathlon, but in jumps it was not possible to take a prize, although the competition was held on the same day. And in the decathlon, Thorp was unmatched. The athlete received the award from King Gustav V, who called him the greatest athlete in the world.
But just a year later, unpleasant facts for the triumphant surfaced. One of the reporters found Thorpe's name in a 1910 baseball directory. It turned out that during this time he was making money as a professional, which was prohibited by the rules of the Amateur Athletic Union. Although the athlete's earnings were scanty, he was instantly deprived of all his Olympic awards. Unfortunately, Thorpe's guilt has been proven.
The practice of earning money for amateur athletes was then generally accepted, but they used pseudonyms for these purposes. Thorpe sadly said that by depriving him of his medals, the IOC could not deprive the athlete of the words of the king. In 1982, the sentence was revised and commemorative medals were returned to the athlete's children. The great athlete suffered because of his love for sports. Five and decathlon was not enough for him, athletics and football were not enough.