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HomeNewsIn light of Hans Niemann's Chess scandal: 10 cheating scandals in sports

In light of Hans Niemann’s Chess scandal: 10 cheating scandals in sports


In an investigation conducted by .com, one of the biggest online platforms where even grandmasters compete in tournaments, it has been revealed that Hans Neimann of the US not only cheated against World Champion Magnus Carlsen in a match in September but has been cheating for a long time. The investigation says that he has cheated in more than 100 games as late as 2020.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the report by .com also states that Niemann privately confessed to the allegations and that he was subsequently banned from the site for a period of time. Chess.com couldn’t comment on whether Neimann cheated in classical (board) chess games, but FIDE, the world governing body of the game, is also investigating the matter.

Cheating in sports is not new and has existed as long as sports. In many ways, unfair advantage has been sought by athletes and coaches to make sure they or their teams win at any cost. Here’s a list of 10 of the greatest cheatings in sports history.

Maradona’s hand of god

If there is ever a case made for cheating in the plainest fashion, it would be hard to beat Argentine legend Diego Maradona’s hand of god. It was in front of the referee and the linesman that Maradona, with his left hand, deflected the ball into the goal, which the English goalkeeper Paul Shilton had decided to punch away. English players appealed vehemently but could not get the referee to change his decision. Argentina won that World Cup quarterfinal game 2-1 and even went on to win the World Cup in 1986. Maradona later admitted that it was the hand of god.

Lance Armstrong doped his way to glory

American cyclist Lance Armstrong, who won the Tour de France consecutively from 1999-2005, was a hero. So much so that he was taught about in books how the human spirit could overcome a disease as bad as cancer and help the person become a world champion, not once, but a record seven times.

However, in 2012, United States Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA’s) investigation showed that Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career. After vehemently denying the reports, in January 2013, Armstrong accepted that he had cheated.

team Chicago White Sox’ black dealings to lose World Series

It was as early as 1919 that cheating had taken a big toll in . The cheating scandal, which involved the then-famous Chicago White Sox team, became known as Black Sox. Eight team members were found to have accepted money from gamblers and therefore threw away the most prestigious trophy in Baseball, the World Series, which the Cincinnati Reds went on to win 5-3.

“Say it ain’t so, Joe,” one of the iconic phrases in sporting history was coined after this incident. After the jury decided that “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and seven others were involved in accepting the bribe to lose, a young man outside the court said this famous line to Jackson.

Rosie Ruiz and the use of the subway in a marathon

Rosie Ruiz, a Cuba-born US runner, who had ranked 11th in the New York City Marathon in 1979, went on to win the 1980 Boston Marathon and even set a new record time. This was scandalous as she said during her New York Marathon application that she was dying of cancer. Moreover, no one saw Ruiz running; thus, it became a matter of concern as to how she won with record timing.

It was then that a freelance photographer revealed that she had seen Ruiz on the subway during the New York marathon. Later, it came to light that in the Boston Marathon, too, Ruiz waited for only a mile from the finish line and then jumped into the race, sprinting her way to the finish line.

Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan’s rivalry

Ice skating was a rage in the 90s in the US. One of the biggest sports rivalries of the 1990s was between professional ice skaters Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan, both from the US.

The tension between the two became so high that just a month before the 1994 in Lillehammer, Norway, it was found that Harding’s ex-husband hired a hitman who hit Kerrigan on the knee with a baton and bludgeoned it.

Harding and her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly were both punished for their crime. While Gillooly remained in prison for two years, Harding was put on three-year probation and fined $100,000 for conspiring to hinder prosecution.

However, the best part was Kerrigan recovered in time and took silver in the games.

Sylvester Carmouche: The fog man jockey

Sylvester Carmouche, who raced at Louisana’s Delta Downs Racetrack in 1990, surprised one and all as he won the race when he was not favoured at all. The punters and organisers were equally surprised because Carmouche won by 24 lengths, a huge victory margin in horse racing.

He was eventually disqualified, and later it became known that Carmouche never actually raced and was hiding in the January fog near the winning line. He only sprinted his horse when the other competitors came near him. Other jockeys in the race testified that as well. Eventually, Carmouche admitted it too and was reinstated in horse racing after serving an eight-year ban.

David Robertson and his ball lifting tactics in Golf

David Robertson, a Scottish Golf player, was probably the first golfer to have been accused of cheating and subsequently banned. It was the final qualifying event for the 1985 Open in Deal, Kent, where his fellow competitors complained to an official that Robertson was using unfair means.

Graeme Simmers, the official, disqualified Robertson. It was revealed that the Scottish player took undue advantage and sometimes moved his ball almost 20 feet to get it near the hole on the greens. After arriving earlier than his partners, Robertson would appear to mark his ball but would actually pick it up and carry it on his putter around the green to drop it much nearer the hole.

Ben Johnson beats Carl Lewis, but…with the use of drugs

It was the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games when for the first time, Ben Johnson of Canada beat the reigning champion and world-famous athlete from the United States, Carl Lewis, in the 100-metre race. However, his glory lasted only two days as a dope test revealed that Johnson had tested positive for stanozolol, and his record time of 9.79 seconds was deleted, and he was stripped of his medal too.

Hansie Cronje and the use of earpiece in

Hansie Cronje, the charismatic captain of South Africa who eventually was coloured with the crime of match-fixing and died fighting it, was also involved in one of the most innovative but definitely unfair means used in to gain undue advantage. In the 1999 World Cup, Cronje and Alan Donald wore earpieces connected to their coach Bob Woolmer sitting in the dressing room.

Woolmer would pass on messages as to how to take the game forward, but India, the team against which they tried the tactics, complained, and eventually, the earpieces had to go as it was termed not illegal but unfair by the ICC.

Spanish ‘Paralympians’ and their mental bluff

The cheating attempt by Spain’s intellectual disability Basketball team, which won the gold at the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, was so shrewd that the revelations shocked the entire world. Out of the 12 members that were part of the team, only two were actually mentally disabled. Carlos Ribagorda, who was also part of that team and was an undercover journalist, revealed that most members never underwent any test of disability before being drafted in the side.


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