However much people might try to promote the ideals of fair play within sport, sadly, there are always a few characters who manage to slip under the radar. Whether they practice their immorality in a wholly sporting sense or carry their bad practice off-field, there are a multitude of cheats across the sporting spectrum, and our writers look at three of the worst.
The Australian Ball-Tamperers: Rebecca Johnson
This should have been Australia’s year. This should have been the year Australia cricket swept everyone off their feet with their cricketing brilliance. Captain Steve Smith had an excellent Ashes series and was regarded as the best batsman in the world in earlier in January. The Australian bowling line-up were regarded as ruthless and blitzed through England in the Ashes. Theoretically, they should have taken the cricketing world by storm.
I guess they did take the cricketing world by storm in some way when it was uncovered that they had devised a plan to cheat their way to success. During their test against South Africa, young opener Cameron Bancroft was seen fiddling with something in the waistband of his trousers, which looked like a tiny piece of yellow card. Unfortunately, Mr Bancroft was not clever enough to realise that he was not only being watched by all those in the stadium, but also on TV across the world. The cameras picked up his mysterious behaviour, which lead to the umpire calling him over and questioning him.
After the game, Cameron Bancroft and Captain Steve Smith admitted during a press conference that the Australia “leadership team” had devised a plan to ball tamper. Their plan involved sandpapering the ball, so that the ball is rougher and can go faster- startling the batsman.
The fallout continued, as Vice-Captain David Warner was also involved and the Australian trio were sent home. Eventually, all three were given bans from the sport, twelve months for Smith and Warner, and nine months for Bancroft.
How the mighty have fallen. The Australian cricket team were seen as heroes at the start of the year. Australia take their cricket so seriously, with a lot of the team- past and present- being seen as legends. However, their disgusting antics have branded the team as a disgrace to cricket. The pride they once had will take a long time to get back.
Lance Armstrong: Jack Dugan
Lance Armstrong, a staple of the primary school assemblies, shocked the world when he was revealed to have been taking performance enhancing drugs throughout his career.
Armstrong inspired many when he won the Tour de France despite being riddled with cancer. Told he had zero chance of survival, Armstrong overcame the odds of not only living but of elite cycling. This led everyone to revere Lance Armstrong as a model of triumph and perseverance. Or so it seemed. It was later found Lance Armstrong had consistently been doping throughout his career, faking test results and lying about the use of performance enhancing drugs.
Despite famously saying in 2005 “Consider my situation: a guy who comes back from arguably, you know, a death sentence, why would I then enter into a sport and dope myself up and risk my life again? That's crazy. I would never do that. No. No way” Armstrong was left red faced when he admitted in 2013 to taking banned growth hormones, testosterone and having blood transfusions.
The former Olympian’s reputation was in tatters. Multi-million-dollar sponsorships cancelled, his foundation in tatters, an idol became a villain. Yet this story of cheating is somewhat barbed, though of course cheating is despicable and wrong, a source of inspiration for many has dissipated into nothing and the sport of cycling itself has suffered from his actions.
John Terry: Jack Dugan
A famous incident of “cheating” in sport is John Terry playing away from home with team mate Wayne Bridge’s wife.
John Terry had started seeing Vanessa Perroncel behind both his wife and teammates back in the summer of 2009. The changing rooms must’ve had some atmosphere! Terry’s EastEnders like antics lead to then manager Fabio Cappello stripping him of the England captaincy and his place in the England set up being questioned ahead of the world cup.
On the other side, it also led Wayne Bridge to withdraw from international duty as he would refuse to play alongside the man who broke his marriage. The situation was never resolved with the animosity continued throughout their careers, Bridge famously snubbing his former teammates handshake prior to Chelsea vs Man City and in all their subsequent meetings.
On a lighter note, the whole messy situation at least gave us inspiration for many chants on the terraces, and when Bridge refused to shake Terry's hand, this gave us one of the most awkward moments in football.