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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Nascar is not the only Sport

Nascar is not the only sport that seems to have cornered the market on cheating. While over the past week the pundits and fish wraps can't get enough talk of Nascar cheaters , I thought it might be interesting to take a look at some of other sports and some of the unbelievable attempts at cheating their sport and you might be surprised at some of the names.


* Muhammad Ali vs Henry Cooper
This was only Ali's second professional fight (he was Cassius Clay at that time) For the first three rounds he destroyed Cooper, who was fit and on his game, but simply outclassed. Ali began clowning around, every time Cooper was on the verge of falling, he would step back and start dancing. By the end of round four, Cooper was bloodied and exhausted, his notoriously fragile skin sliced open by Ali. On his very last legs Cooper threw a historic punch that caught Ali flush on the chin and sent him threw the ropes and on to the apron on his backside. Ali's trainer, Angelo Dundee could see Ali was finished unless Dundee could buy Ali some time. Ali did somehow regained his feet and stumbled forwards again, to be save by the bell and Dundee's arms. Desperate to buy his man some time, Dundee (and there is film footage of this) glancing back and fourth from the Referee then to Ali's gloves a handful of times, somehow 'finds' s slit in Ali's glove and notifies Referee Bill Faversham. The futile search for a replacement gained Ali an extra few minutes on his stool. With his powers of recovery, it was all Ali needed. Two minutes into the fifth round, the fight was stopped after Ali unleashed a relentless flurry of blows.

* Sonny Liston verses Muhammad Ali
In sort of a role reversal of the above, Liston's title defense of Ali was clouded by speculation of cheating. Liston was over-confident, and was unprepared for any result but a quick stoppage. In the opening rounds, Ali's speed kept him away from Liston's powerful head and body shots, as he used his height advantage to effectively beat Liston to the punch with his Jab. In round three Ali had opened a severe cut under Liston's eye and seemed to be in complete control of the fight. However in the fourth round Liston was able to regain some ground as Ali seemed to be blinded by a 'foreign substance'. After the round Ali asked Angelo Dundee to stop the fight, but Dundee refused and convinced Ali to continue. Midway though the fifth round Ali's sweat and tears seemed to be enough to 'clear' the substances from his eyes, and regained his vision. After the sixth round, Liston refused to return to the ring to begin the next round thus gving the Heavyweight Championship to Ali. Boxing historian and insider Bert Sugar has recalled at least two other Liston fights in which a similar situation occurred, suggesting that the Liston corner deliberately attempted to cheat.


Isn't youth sports supposed to represent all the that's pure about athletics? Teamwork? Fair play? and most importantly Sportsmanship? That true, unless you really want to win. Danny Almonte guided his Bronx, NY, baseball squad into the 2001 Little League World Series with a string of dominant pitching performances. He even tossed a perfect game in the opener. However, his team was later stripped of its multiple regional championships and third-place showing at the 2001 LLWS when it was revealed Almonte was 14 years old, two years older than the LLWS age limit. (What was the first clue -- Almonte's towering teen aged frame or his five o'clock shadow?)

Forget the obvious cheats of greased balls or corked bats. No other baseball fiasco comes anywhere close to touching the social impact of the 1919 Black Sox scandal. Baseball at that time was so much more than it is today, it was more than just a game, it was a national institution. Even though the eight implicated players were acquitted in a court of law, the game would be tarnished forever. So much that all eight received a lifetime ban for their mis-doings.

Track and Field

During the 1980 Boston Marathon, Ruiz was the first woman to cross the finish line. She did it in the third-fastest time ever recorded for a female runner. Quite the victory considering she was barely sweating when crowned with the winner's wreath. Marathon organizers were immediately suspicious, and after some investigation course officials had no evidence of Ruiz passing checkpoints and fellow competitors had no recollection of her. Eventually a few spectators came forward and said they saw Ruiz join the race during its final half-mile. What makes Ruiz an even bigger cheat is that she also deceived race officials in the New York Marathon, the race she used to qualify for the Boston event. Apparently she got her above-average time by riding the Manhattan subway

Winning the 1988 Olympic Gold Medal in the 100-metre sprint title in a world-record time of 9.79 seconds at the Seoul Olympics. To make the victory even sweeter, Johnson captured the gold medal by handily defeating American rival Carl Lewis. The euphoria of Johnson's win didn't last, however, when it was found the Canadian tested positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol. Johnson was subsequently stripped of his gold medal and world record and banned from competition for two years. Nearly 15 years later, it was discovered that several American track athletes tested positive for drugs before those same Seoul Games. Allegedly among them was Lewis, who was awarded the gold medal after Johnson's disqualification. It appears that Johnson became the goat for all.

Noted above is just the tip of the iceberg and we could go on for what might seem like infinity listing them all in detail. From the numerous Tour de France scandals, Special Olympians who were not so 'special' (10 of 12 members of a Spanish basketball team were later found to have no mental deficiency), Olympians who competed in the wrong gender classification, paid off figure skating judges, and even whacking other competitors over the knees with clubs so they could not perform.

I guess as bad all all of this past week in Nascar seems to be, so far it has not rivaled what other sports and their competitors have attempted.

On to a 'marathon' day of the Great American Race broadcast tomorrow. Lets go racing!

1 comment:

Gvav1 said...

Don't forget about Bill cheating on Hillary!!!