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Saturday April 27, 2013

‘Bad’ sports people

Fallen idol: Lance
Armstrong. Fallen idol: Lance Armstrong.

OSCAR Pistorius is not the first sportsman to have gone from hero to zero.

With crimes ranging from murder and rape to robbery and doping, here are five other athletes who have fallen from grace so spectacularly that no matter how great their sporting achievements were, they will always be remembered for their moments of infamy.

We’ve decided to go with these five for the simple fact that their crimes and misdemeanours were so serious that their reputations have been tarnished forever.

For that reason, Tiger Woods is not included, because even though he was a bad, bad boy for the er ... misuse of his wood with another woman, he managed to overcome that setback and is now the world number one once again.

Neither are football bad boys such as Luis Suarez, Joey Barton and John Terry, who despite having courted controversy after controversy throughout their careers, are still actively involved in the sport.

Ben Johnson (athletics)

Greatest achievement: Became the first man to break the 9.80s mark en route to winning the 100m final during the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Fall from grace: The Canadian sprinter was disqualified three days after the Seoul final – his post-race urine samples tested positive for the performance enhancing drug stanozolol. He later admitted to earlier doping allegations as well, and was stripped of past Olympic and World championship medals, as well as his previous world records.

Lance Armstrong (cycling)

Greatest achievement: Won the Tour de France a record seven times between 1999 and 2005. What makes his fall from grace spectacular is that he was such an inspiration to everyone - his Tour de France titles had come after a successful battle with testicular cancer in 1996.

Fall from grace: In 2012, Armstrong was stripped of his titles and banned from cycling for life for taking performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career. Armstrong later admitted to using performance enhancing drugs throughout much of his career, including all seven Tour de France wins.

O.J. Simpson (American football)

Greatest achievement: Simpson was considered one of the greatest American football players ever, and was inducted into the sport’s Hall of Fame in 1985, after a hugely successful career spanning 1969 to 1979.

Fall from grace: In 1995, he was charged with the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. Although he was acquitted of that charge, he was left broke and bankrupt after the lengthy trial.

Simpson hit rock bottom when he was found guilty of numerous felonies, including armed robbery and kidnapping in 2007, and sentenced to a 33-year prison sentence.

Mike Tyson (boxing)

Greatest achievement: A former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, and the first heavyweight boxer to simultaneously hold and unify the WBC, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles.

Fall from grace: in 1992, Tyson was found guilty of raping then 18-year-old beauty queen Desiree Washington, and was sentenced to six years in prison followed by four years on probation.

He resumed his boxing career after he was release in 1995, but remained a hugely controversial figure. In 1997, he was disqualified during his fight with Evander Holyfield for biting his opponent’s ears!

Tonya Harding (figure skating)

Greatest achievement: A US Figure Skating champion and two-time Olympian, her best result on the international stage was a silver medal in the World Championships.

Fall from grace: In 1994, Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly and her bodyguard Shawn Eckhardt, hired Shane Stant to break the right leg of Harding’s great rival Nancy Kerrigan so that she would be unable to skate.

Harding admitted to helping to cover up the incident, and later pleaded guilty to conspiring to hinder prosecution of the attackers. – Michael Cheang

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