Before Muammar Gaddafi's son Al-Saadi became commander of Lybia's Special Forces and a high-profile target for Interpol, he was following his real dream of kicking a ball around and throwing himself on the ground to draw penalties. He loved soccer but unfortunately lacked any skill, even by Saturday pick-up game standards. However, when your father is good at killing arguments by killing the arguers, you can do pretty much anything you want.
That's how Al-Saadi wound up playing for a team in the Libyan League while simultaneously acting as president of the entire Libyan Football Federation. As you can probably imagine, that created a fairly substantial conflict of interest, which Al-Saadi was ready to exploit unapologetically. He rigged the league in his own favor, forcing the best players to join his team while bribing all of the referees.
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Gaddafi frequently cited Judge Smales as a personal hero.
Once, when a rival team refused to finish a game against his team in protest of all the unfair calls and dirty play, Gaddafi's soldiers forced them to keep playing at gunpoint. Finally, to add insult to injury after the game, Al-Saadi had their clubhouse bulldozed. In his ultimate act of arrogance, Al-Saadi created a league-wide rule forbidding announcers to mention the name of any player other than Al-Saadi himself. When everyone else is afraid of you, you don't even have to pretend to play fair.
But that wasn't enough for Al-Saadi. He wanted to play for a legitimate team in a legitimate league. So he did what plucky underdogs everywhere have always done: He threw his daddy's oil money at the problem until it went away. In 2003 the soccer world was shocked to hear that Al-Saadi had secured a move to the big leagues with the Series A Italian team Perugia. He managed it by bypassing the league altogether and brokering the deal with the Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, instead.
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And we know what a straight shooter he is.
Of course Perugia claimed that no money changed hands and they merely signed him to improve relations between Italy and Libya. Regardless of why it happened, no one felt confident enough at lying to pretend they had hired him for his skill.
Despite the team's owner openly pleading with the coach to play him, Gaddafi only appeared for 26 minutes in three seasons in Italy. The problem was eventually solved when he failed a drug test and was banned altogether. He ended up being voted the league's worst ever player, which might actually have pleased his father, who once opened a major soccer tournament with the inspirational words, "All you stupid spectators, have your stupid game."
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Which will undoubtedly be how the World Cup is inaugurated if the U.S. ever hosts it again.
Michael Phelps is the most decorated modern Olympian, having won more than 22 medals throughout his career. But compared to Nero's 1,808 Olymipic medals in just one year, Phelps looks like a doggie-paddling child peeing in the pool. Now, technically, back in 67 A.D., they were olive wreaths instead of medals, and technically he won them by being a tyrannical emperor who threatened the lives of all the competitors he couldn't bribe. So there is a pretty big asterisk next to his name in history books.
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Yeah, but at least he didn't use steroids.
Above all other sports, Emperor Nero loved chariot-racing, so much so that he fixed the Olympic games to ensure that he could not only compete among the best in the world but also win. And we're not talking about paying some judges under the table -- he was completely conspicuous about how desperately he wanted to fuck over every other competitor.
To start, he ordered that the entire Olympics be postponed two years to coincide with his visit to Greece. Then he showed up to the event with 10 horses. For anyone who's not a chariot racing enthusiast, the race is run with four horses -- Nero intended to more than double that. He bribed other riders to drop out, and even with a huge advantage, he still fell in the middle of the race and was unable to finish. Nevertheless, he was declared winner anyway because while fair play and sporting integrity are nice, not being thrown to the lions is even nicer.
And thus, the "participation trophy" was born.
But Nero wasn't done. He figured as long as he was there, he might as well win every other event, too. He even demanded that a musical competition be introduced, specifically so he could win that, and to be clear, Nero wasn't a great musician. His performances were so staggeringly bad that people would literally pretend to be dead so that he would stop. Finally, he ordered the statues of previous winners be torn down and hurled into the public toilets. All told, he managed to cheapen the most sacred sporting event in history until it was nothing more than a children's game where he gets to make up the rules as he goes.
But hell, if you can't do shit like that, what's the point of becoming Emperor?
Well, the money is nice. And the women. The entourage. The world's strongest army. The eternal fame. The matricide. But other than that.
For more should probably be kicked in the genital region, check out 5 People Who Screwed Things Up for Everybody and