6 Scandals That Rocked The Olympics

Amid the competition and glory, there have been high-profile scandals and controversies that have taken center stage.

By Sowmya Krishnamurthy

The Olympics celebrate the greatest athletes in the world—but not all of them have the integrity of American sweetheart Gabby Douglas, whose show Douglas Family Gold is premiering tonight on Oxygen at 10/9c. Amid the competition and glory, there have been high-profile scandals and controversies that have taken center stage. Here are six of the biggest Olympic scandals of all time. 

Russian Doping

A whistleblower and the World Anti-Doping Agency claimed that Russia sponsored a doping program before the Sochi Olympic Winter Games in 2014, and the problem is so widespread among Russian athletes that the country’s track and field athletes are currently banned from international competitions. Russia says it has cleaned up its athletes, and there is talk of allowing them to compete in Rio this summer. Pictured above: Russian sprinter Mariya Savinova, who won a Gold medal in the 2012 Olympic Games in London and later admitted to using banned substances. 

2000: Age Ain't Nothing But a Number

Chinese gymnast Dong Fangxiao was only 14 when she took the bronze medal at the Olympics. Judges stripped her of her medal because the minimum age requirement is 16.

2000: Track and Field Disgrace

The Olympics have been plagued with reports of athletes using performance-enhancing drugs to gain an unfair edge on the competition. In 2000, United States sprinter Marion Jones was on fire, winning five medals, including the 100 metres, long jump and relay. In 2007, the beloved athlete admitted in court to having taken drugs. She (and her relay teammates) lost their medals.

1994: Skate Beef

Some athletes take the spirit of competition too far. U. S. figure skater Tonya Harding had her ex-husband arrange for an attack on her close rival Nancy Kerrigan (pictured) a month before the games. Nancy went on to win silver--and become a national superstar--while Tonya was banned for life from competing.  

1968: Power to the People

Tommie Smith and John Carlos won the 200 meter race. At the height of the civil rights movement, the two black athletes threw their fists up in the "Power to the People" salute while the national anthem played. Many considered the gesture disrespectful but the moment has become iconic in American history.

1964: End Apartheid

The Olympics have been the stage for major political outcry. In 1964, South Africa was banned from participating due to its apartheid policies. The suspension was lifted decades later in 1992.


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