You might think that sportsmanship is dead, what with the steroids and signal-stealing cameras in the headlines. And you'd be right.
But what you may not realize is that sportsmanship died long, long ago. In fact, these modern performance enhancers can't hold a candle to some of the ballsiest and outright insane cheats throughout sporting history.
The Spanish Rig the Paralympics
One thing people would never sully with deception is the Paralympics (which is like the Special Olympics, where people with disabilities compete). Right? Who would stoop as low as that?
The short answer: the Spanish. In an act of desperation so pathetic it inspires pity, some of the players on the Spaniards' gold medal-winning Paralympic basketball team turned out not be disabled at all. Yes, that South Park episode and that Johnny Knoxville movie both turned out to be based on a true story.
Undercover journalist, Carlos Ribagorda, blew the lid off the scandal. You may assume that only one or two of the overall squad was ineligible, but that would be underestimating the desperation of the Spanish. A whopping 10 of the 12 members of the basketball squad had no mental difficulty. They were just athletes that sucked enough to not make it into the Olympic team.
Based on actual events
Did it work?
The Spaniards were disqualified from the basketball competition and stripped of their title. There was no evidence of any wrongdoing in other Paralympic events, and we're going to accept that the rest of them were disabled. The alternative, which is that most of their athletes were normal and yet only finished third overall, is too sad to contemplate.
Liston Burns the Gloves
According to Sun Tzu, war is not won by superior might, but by subversion, deceit and trickery. In 1964, when heavyweight champ Sonny Liston went to war with Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay) so many of those tactics were used that somewhere in the afterlife, Sun Tzu must be sporting a raging erection.
Sonny Liston was the Tyson of his day (In that he spent most of his time in prison or punching peoples faces off) and the experienced fighter was the massive favorite ahead of the 22-year-old Ali, who was coming off a pair of bad fights against mediocre fighters.
However, after three rounds, Ali wasn't just winning, he was dancing around and making the champ look like a drunk playing Whack-A-Mole. At the end of the third round, Liston allegedly told his corner to "burn the gloves", which meant smear them with the ointment they use to close cuts (you don't want to get that goop in your eyes).
The next round comes and, after a few blows to the face, Ali goes back to the corner and tells them he's been blinded.
Did it work?
Ali supposedly told his corner he didn't want to continue, but they shoved him out and he stumbled around, blind, while Liston hammered him. Ali survived the round and won the fight in the seventh, partly because he had engaged in some shenanigans of his own.
From the moment the contract was signed several months before the bout, Ali began his campaign to destroy Liston's sanity. Ali started showing up to sparring sessions to taunt Liston. He followed Liston to a casino and mocked him for losing, an act that nearly resulted in a fight on the casino floor. He was waiting at a Miami airport, to ambush Liston with rhyming annoyance.
Ali showed up at Liston's training headquarters with a bus full of girls. He even turned up at Liston's house in the middle of the night, taking the harassment into stalker territory. When it came time for the actual fight, an unbalanced Liston fell behind early and, despite the poison glove trick, never recovered.
Sun Tzu would have been proud.