Although all athletes take the Olympic Oath and swear to compete fairly, some use un-sportsmanlike, unfair or even illegal methods to win an Olympic Gold.


1904 Marathon winner Fred Lorz was disqualified after it was revealed he hitched a lift in a lorry


1976 Modern Pentathlete Boris Onischenko was discovered using a fencing epee with a hidden switch that falsely recorded hits

1994 Lillehammer – Skater Tonya Harding was found to have been complicit in an attack on rival skater Nancy Kerrigan. Although Kerrigan was injured in the attack she was still able to compete and won the silver medal.

2000 Spanish Paralympic Basketball Learning Disability team winners were disqualified when it was discovered that many had no disability at all


As medicine advanced through the 20th century drugs became available that could improve an athletes performance in sport.

Drug testing was introduced in 1972 – all athletes have to provide a urine sample which is tested to see if there are drugs in their body

1988 Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson broke the 100 metres World record was disqualified for taking drugs


Hosting the Olympics can be a big boost for that cities economy and can last for long after the Olympics has finished. For that reason there is fierce competition between Candidate cities to win the backing of members of the International Olympic Committee. Some cities have given lavish gifts or even money payments to IOC members to win their backing.

1998 – Salt Lake City made gifts and money payments to IOC members in exchange for their vote to award the Winter Olympics to Salt Lake City


1972 Munich Massacre

Members of the Palestine Black September group entered the Olympic Village in the early hours of the morning and gained entry to the Israeli team quarters. Two athletes were killed while trying to resist the terrorists, nine others were taken hostage. The terrorists demanded the release of some 200 Palestinians being held in Israeli jails and a safe passage out of Germany.

The authorities agreed to the terms and the terrorists and their hostages were taken by two helicopter to a German airfield. The German police had intended using marksmen to kill the terrorists as they transferred to the airplane that would take them out of Germany. However, things did not go to plan and the terrorists blew up one helicopter containing seven athletes and shot the other two hostages.

1996 Atlanta Bombing

A bomb exploded at a concert held in the Olympic Park. Two people were killed and two hundred were injured.

2005 London Terror Attack

On the day after London was awarded the 2012 Olympic games a co-ordinated terror attack saw four suicide bombs detonated on London transport during early morning rush hour. Three bombs were exploded on underground trains and one on a London bus. Fifty-two people were killed and more than 700 injured.

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"The Olympics – Scandals and Scares" History on the Net
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January 27, 2023 <https://www.historyonthenet.com/the-olympics-scandals-and-scares>
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