Il Bar dello Sport

venerdì 24 agosto 2007

The top 50 sporting scandals

Tutte le estati, il Times si diverte a fare classifiche, più o meno del cazzo. Su questo stesso blog, avete letto quella degli insulti sportivi, ora eccovi quella degli scandali!

Alcuni sono degni di una puntata di Colombo (posizione 5!), altri di uno splatter-movie (posizione 20!), altri ancora (il primo e l'ultimo) ci fanno capire come la lotta contro le discriminazioni di ogni tipo e natura sia ben lungi dall'essere stata vinta.

Tutti sono meritevoli di essere letti per soddisfare la vostra curiosità da settimana enigmistica e migliorare i vostri punteggi a Trivial Pursuit.


50) MCC v Women, 1814-1998

Until nine years ago, the only woman (apart from domestic staff) who was allowed to enter the Pavilion during play at Lord’s, the home of cricket, was the Queen. Repeated ballots among the MCC members on a rule change failed to get enough support until a 70 per cent majority finally voted to end inequality in 1998.

49) All Blacks nail Brian O’Driscoll, 2005

Injuries and aggression are common in rugby – and desirable – but the cynical attack on Brian O’Driscoll at the very start of the first of the Lions matches against New Zealand was beyond the pale. Tana Umaga, the All Blacks captain, and Keven Mealamu grabbed O’Driscoll, the key Lions player, lifted him up and drove him headfirst into the ground. His shoulder was dislocated in the “spear tackle”.

48) Diego Maradona, 1994

The World Cup in the United States was a final hurrah and a final disgrace for Argentina’s footballing hero. He scored a beautiful goal against Greece but was then sent home after testing positive for ephedrene, a stimulant that he claimed was in a power drink. Without their talisman, Argentina were knocked out in the second round.

47) Ian Botham drugs ban, 1986

Certain sections of the media went berserk when Botham, the England cricket all-rounder, admitted to smoking marijuana. There were calls for him to be banned for life, although the eventual suspension was 63 days. Frank Keating, of The Guardian, was a lone voice of sanity, saying Botham had “brought the game into repute”.

46) Danny Almonte, 2001

Little League baseball was rocked to its core when Almonte, one of the most talented junior players in history, was discovered to have lied about his age. His team, the Roland Paulino All Stars, came third in the World Series under his inspired pitching. Just a shame that his birth certificate was uncovered, showing that he was 14, rather than the maximum age of 12

45) Stan Collymore dogging, 2004

The footballer who called himself “international lover” became a focus for ridicule after being found by undercover reporters “dogging” – or cruising for anonymous sex – in car parks. It may not have been the wisest idea to have taken his car with personalised numberplates.

44) Sammy Sosa’s corked bat, 2003

Another baseball scandal. Sosa, the first batter to hit 60 home runs in a season three times, was ejected from a game and suspended for seven more after umpires found his bat was illegally filled with cork, making it lighter but not losing any power. He claimed it was an accident.

43) Bruce Grobelaar, 1994

The former Liverpool goalkeeper was accused of being in a match-fixing ring by The Sun. He pleaded not guilty to a charge of conspiracy to corrupt and was cleared by a jury in 1997, but when the newspaper appealed to the House of Lord’s, Grobelaar was found to have been dishonest and was ordered to pay The Sun’s legal costs.

42) Pedalogate, 2007

Andrew Flintoff, the England cricketer, was found drunk in charge of a pedalo after England had lost their first match at the World Cup in the Caribbean. He was stripped of the vice-captaincy and suspended for one match.

41) Kamp Staaldraad, 2003

South Africa’s unorthodox preparations for the rugby World Cup included the military boot camp in the African bush where players were allegedly threatened at gunpoint to perform tasks, made to huddle naked in a foxhole while ice-cold water was poured on them (to the tune of God Save the Queen) and deprived of food. The team were knocked out in the quarter-finals.

40) Bundesliga match fixing, 2005

Robert Hoyzer, a German second-division football referee, admitted to fixing matches. His trial exposed a €2 million betting racket in Germany.

39) Minnesota Vikings orgy boat cruise, 2005

Seventeen members of the Minnesota Vikings were involved in an alleged orgy on two boats on Lake Minnetonka, featuring prostitutes flown in from Florida and Atlanta, and 90 guests. Four players were charged with indecent and disorderly conduct, but the team had a 9-7 winning record that season.

38) Men’s Olympic basketball final, 1972

The United States had never lost an Olympic basketball final before 1972, so it was bound to be controversial when they were finally beaten. Against the Soviet Union, the US led by one point with one second left and celebrated when they intercepted a Soviet throw but the head of the international federation ordered that the clock be reset to three seconds for a technical hitch, giving the Soviets one last chance for an attack. Naturally, they scored.

37) Pete Rose, 1989

The manager of the Cincinnatti Reds baseball team was banned from the sport by the Major League for betting on – note: never against – his side, sometimes at least $10,000 a night. He only admitted it 15 years later.

36) The monster cricket bat, 1771

Cricket did not have any legal restrictions on the size of bat that players could use until 1774. The game that necessitated a ruling was between Chertsey and Hambledon, when Thomas “Daddy” White, of Chertsey, used a bat that was wider than the wicket. It did not help his side: Chertsey lost by one run.

35) Winter Olympic bid scandal, 2002

In 1995, Salt Lake City was announced as the host city for the 2002 Winter Olympics but three years later members of the IOC were accused of taking bribes to give the Games to the American city. Ten were later expelled from the IOC and stricter rules were put in place.

34) Olympic boycotts, 1976-1984

Politics entered the Olympic Games in 1976 when 28 African nations refused to compete in protest at New Zealand playing rugby against apartheid South Africa. In 1980, the United States led a boycott of more than 60 nations in protest at the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. Four years later, the Los Angeles Olympics were boycotted by communist nations.

33) Formula One espionage, 2007

Nigel Stepney, a disaffected former Ferrari Formula One engineer, was alleged to have passed a large dossier on the team to Mike Coughlan, an engineer with Ferrari’s main rivals, McLaren Mercedes. McLaren have denied being shown the dossier by Coughlan. The investigation continues.

32) Rush Limbaugh, 2003

The American broadcaster got egg on his face, as well as losing his job, when he suggested that Donovan McNabb, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback was over-rated and that people only talked about him because he was black. The next year, McNabb led the Eagles to their first Superbowl appearance in 24 years.

31) Shakoor Rana, 1987

Two fat men wagging fingers at each other on a cricket pitch in Faisalabad was not the most dignified image. Rana, the Pakistan umpire, felt that Mike Gatting, the England captain, was cheating; Gatting felt that Rana was biased towards the home team. The match was abandoned until Gatting wrote a letter of apology.

30) Marseilles match-fixing, 1993

Marseilles became the first French team to lift the European Cup in 1993 but they were stripped of their French league title and relegated a division the next season because of financial irregularities and a match-fixing scandal involving Bernard Tapie, their president, who was imprisoned for six months.

29) The Hand of God, 1986

Diego Maradona, the cheating swine, punched the ball past Peter Shilton during Argentina’s World Cup quarter-final against England and became a bogeyman for a generation. Shame it overshadowed his moment of brilliance five minutes later, when he scored one of the finest ever World Cup goals.

28) English football betting scandal, 1915

Under the cover of war, Liverpool and Manchester United tried to fix a league match in United’s favour, to save them from relegation. Players from both sides placed bets on the result, a 2-0 win to United (at odds of 7-1), but Liverpool’s lack of effort was too blatant. An FA investigation led to seven players being banned for life, although five of them had the ban lifted in 1919 for gallantry during the war.

27) Festina cycling team, 1998

In the most scandal-ridden Tour de France before 2007, police raided team hotels during the 1998 race after a physiotherapist for the Festina team was found in possession of narcotics, growth hormones and testosterone. Riders staged a strike in protest at the heavy-handed measures, but in a court case two years later the Festina management were shown to have been doping the team.

26) Trevor Chappell, 1981

New Zealand needed six runs off the last ball to tie a one-day cricket international with Australia, so the Australia captain, Greg Chappell, ordered his brother, Trevor, to roll the ball along the ground rather than bowl it. New Zealand could do nothing put bat the ball away in disgust as the tactic was not illegal at the time. Rob Muldoon, the New Zealand Prime Minister, called it “an act of cowardice” and “the most disgusting incident I can recall from a game of cricket”.

25) Faria Alam, 2004

The woman who finally killed off Sven-Goran Eriksson’s credibility after she revealed, for a fat sum, the graphic details of her affair with both the England football manager and his boss, Mark Palios, the FA chief executive. Palios resigned, Eriksson clung on as a lame duck.

24) Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket, 1977

Packer may have inadvertently saved cricket by plunging his millions into luring leading cricketers away from their countries to play for his “circus”. Certainly, the coloured clothes, drop-in pitches, floodlights and television innovations he introduced have lingered. But at the time, the Australian was condemned as a bloodsucking iconoclast. “There is a little bit of the whore in all of us,” he told the Australian Cricket Board when negotiating TV rights.

23) Rosie Ruiz, 1980

Ruiz, a Cuban émigré, apparently won the Boston Marathon with a record time, until witnesses came forward saying that she had only joined the race in the last mile. “I got up with a lot of energy this morning,” was her explanation for why she had shaved 25 minutes off the time she ran in the New York Marathon six months earlier. Then it turned out she had taken the Subway for part of that race, too

22) Darrell Hair, 2006

The Australian cricket umpire ruled, with his colleague Billy Doctrove, that Pakistan had doctored the ball in the Oval Test match against England and awarded five penalty runs to the home side. Pakistan staged a protest in their dressing-room, refusing to take the field and so Hair awarded the match to England, the first time in Test history that a match had been forfeited. Hair later came under strong criticism for failing to find a diplomatic solution to the row. He did not help his case by emailing his bosses, offering to resign in return for $500,000 “hush money”. An investigation found no evidence of ball-tampering, but suspended the Pakistan captain for bringing the game into disrepute. Hair, ranked the second best umpire in the world in 2006, lost his place on the elite umpires panel.

21) Michael Vick, 2007

A grand jury will decide next month what to do with Vick, a quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons who has pleaded guilty to operating an illegal dog-fighting business. He is accused of personally executing several weak dogs.

20) Mike Tyson chews on Evander Holyfield, 1997

Tyson had already proven that he was sub-human with his rape conviction in 1992 and various threats to murder rivals, but things took a gruesome and bizarre twist when he started gnawing on his opponent’s ear, ripping off a chunk and ending any last shred of credibility.

19) Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze, ice skating, 2002

The Russian pair were awarded the gold medal in the short programme at the Winter Olympics despite stumbling during their routine, while the Canadian pair of Jamie Sale and David Pelletier had completed a flawless programme. The controversy threatened to take over the Games when the French judge confessed that pressure had been put on her by the head of the French skating organisation. The IOC awarded a second gold to the Canadian pair to defuse the situation

18) Operacion Puerto, 2006

Another drugs scandal in cycling. Spanish police arrested the director of the Liberty Seguros-Wurth team and four others including Dr Eufemiano Fuentes, who is accused of providing drugs to 200 professional athletes, although relatively few of them are cyclists. The investigation continues.

17) Kostantinos Kenteris and Ekaterini Thanou, 2004

Kenteris was a big hope for a home gold medal in the Athens Olympics but on the day before the Games started he failed to attend a drugs test, along with his training partner Thanou. They claimed they had been in a motorcycle accident but had no sign of injury. Their coach was suspended and later found with large amounts of steroids in his possession.

16) Balco, 2003

American agents who searched the Bay Area Local Co-operative in California found that the company was supplying tetrahydrogestrinone, a then-undetectable steroid known as “the Clear”, to athletes, football players and baseball players. The controversy rumbles on.

15) Jim Thorpe, 1913

Thorpe was named the greatest athlete of the first half of the 20th century by Associated Press; at the Olympics in Stockholm in 1912 he competed in the decathlon and pentathlon, winning eight of the 15 events and easily won both golds. Yet he was stripped of the medals the next year for being a “professional sportsman” after it was revealed that he had once earned a pittance as a minor league baseball player. Many suspected racism against the Native American. His medals were restored to him in 1983, 30 years after his death.

14) Heidi Krieger, 1986

One of the many East German female athletes to be systematically doped with steroids. She won the gold medal in the shot put at the European Championships in 1986 but 11 years later had a sex change and is now called Andreas. Testified against his coaches, saying that their doping had contributed to his transsexuality.

13) South African rebel tours, 1970-91

Dozens of cricketers were given lengthy bans for their part in unofficial tours to apartheid South Africa. Graham Gooch’s England tour in 1982, Kim Hughes’s Australian tours of 1985 and 1987 and Mike Gatting’s of 1990 were the most notable.

12) Spanish Paralympic cheats, 2000

Spain were stripped of their gold medal in the basketball event for people with learning difficulties after it was confirmed that ten of the 12 members of the team were not disabled.

11) Glenn Hoddle, 1999

The former England football manager may claim he “never said them things” about disabled people paying for sins they had committed in a previous life, but the Times reporter who spoke to him had the words verbatim in his notebook and after an uproar Hoddle had to resign. Read the interview again here

10) Hansie Cronje, 2000

The South Africa cricket captain was banned from the game for life after confessing to his part in the biggest match-fixing scandal in the game’s history, running into hundreds of thousands of dollars – as well as a leather jacket for contriving a result in the 2000 Centurion Test with England.

9) Park Si-Hun, 1988

Many were surprised when the South Korean boxer was awarded the light-middleweight gold medal at his home Olympics despite being outboxed by Roy Jones Jr. Television analysis suggested that Jones had landed 86 punches to Park’s 32. An IOC investigation found that three of the judges had received hospitality from their Korean hosts but the decision was not reversed.

8) Bodyline, 1932

Skulduggery by the England cricket captain or whinging by Australia? Douglas Jardine’s tactic to neutralise the influence of Don Bradman, who he thought was “yellow”, by getting his team to bowl fast at the batsmen’s upper bodies, worked: Bradman’s superhuman average dropped to “only” 57 and England won the Ashes. But it sparked a diplomatic nightmare.

7) Serie A match-fixing, 2006

Juventus, the Italian league champions, and other leading sides were accused of rigging matches with the assistance of helpful referees. Juventus were relegated a division and stripped of their league title. AC Milan, Fiorentina, Reggina and Lazio were given points deductions.

6) Zimbabwe, 2003

The scandalous inactivity of the International Cricket Council towards the situation in Zimbabwe has been going on for many years, but it boiled up in 2003 at the World Cup in Africa when two Zimbabwe players, Andy Flower and Henry Olonga, wore black armbands at their matches in protest at “the death of democracy”. Both never played again. England boycotted their scheduled match in Zimbabwe in protest at Robert Mugabe: the points they lost meant that Zimbabwe progressed to the second round in England’s place. Zimbabwe have since had their Test status removed.

5) Tonya Harding, 1994

Admitted to covering up her knowledge of an assault on Nancy Kerrigan, her rival for the American figure-skating team, that was organised by Harding’s former husband. Kerrigan won the Olympic silver medal a month later; Harding was sentenced to community service and given a large fine.

4) Tour de France, 2007

Three riders and two whole teams withdrew after failed drugs tests, including Michael Rasmussen, wearing the yellow jersey at the time, and Alexandre Vinokourov, the pre-race favourite. It may not be the last drugs scandal to hit cycling’s premier race, but the fallout from this one suggested that finally teams have lost tolerance for cheats.

3) Ben Johnson, 1988

The Canadian won the bronze medal in the Olympic 100 metres in 1984 but his race four years later in Seoul lives in infamy. “The man with the yellow eyes” came first, lowering his own world record by 0.04sec to 9.79, but steroids were found in his urine and he was stripped of the title three days later. His earlier world record was also removed from the records when he admitted to previous doping.

2) Chicago “Black Sox”, 1919

Eight members of the Chicago White Sox baseball team were banned for deliberately losing the World Series for money. The biggest shock was the involvement of “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, the outfielder whose career average of .356, the third highest in Major League history, dropped to .268 in the dubious matches. “Say it ain’t so, Joe” was the apocryphal wail of a child that summed up the shock in America.

1) Basil D Oliveira, 1968

The Cape Coloured cricketer, one of the most gifted players of his day, emigrated to England in 1960 because he was not allowed to play for his native South Africa on the grounds of race. In 1966, he was selected for England, being named one of Wisden’s five cricketers of the year in 1967. But controversy hit the following year when he made a match-winning score of 158 – and took a crucial wicket – at the Oval against Australia and yet was still left out of the winter tour of South Africa.

Political pressure not to include him had been put on the MCC by the South African Government, yet under massive public outcry the England selectors relented and called him up, at which point South Africa cancelled the tour. This was seen as the beginning of the sporting boycott of apartheid, yet it was also a tragedy that D’Oliveira, whose international career did not begin until he was 35, was not able to fulfil his immense talent. The treatment of him is cricket - and sport’s - greatest scandal

1 commento:

s.homer ha detto...

Perché non c'è Materazzi?