I would prefer even to fail with honour than to win by cheating.

SOPHOCLES (496-406 bc)


Marathon Cheating

The 1904 Olympic Marathon was held in the afternoon in oppressive August Missouri heat and dust which kept half the 31 competitors from finishing.

Fred Lorz was cheered by the American crowd and crowned with the laurel wreath by Alice Roosevelt, daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt. However, it later emerged that he went most of the way by car. Tiring after nine miles, he hitched a ride in the pace car and when that broke down eleven miles later he got out and finished the race.
When Lorz was exposed, he claimed it had been a joke, but they disqualified him and banned him for life. However, he was later reinstated and went on to win the 1905 Boston Marathon.

The medal was given to second-placed, British-born Thomas Hicks who had also come second in the 1904 Boston Marathon earlier that year. On this occasion, however, he had to be helped across the finish line with the worst time in Olympic Marathon history. He was flagging so much throughout that his trainers gave him two doses of rat-poison washed down with brandy (a common practice at the time, and permitted). He collapsed after the race, and it later transpired that if his trainers had given him a third dose of strychnine (which they considered) it would have been almost certainly fatal.
Fourth place was awarded to Cuban postman Felix Carvajal despite the fact that he had run in street clothes, stopped in an apple orchard for a snack, got sick from eating rotten fruit and laid down for a nap.

Ninth was one of the Africans, Len Tau, a Tswana tribesman, who had run more than a kilometre out of his way after being chased by a dog.

The Spanish Paralympic basketball team in 2000, had to hand back their medals as 10 of them didn’t have a disability.


I was thrown out of college for cheating on the metaphysics exam; I looked into the soul of the boy next to me.

Cheating in the Tour de France

In the 1904 Tour de France, 13 riders were disqualified, including the first four across the line, and even the eventual winner received a warning.

Various misdemeanours were responsible. Some of the racing took place at night, and it was alleged that some of the riders were towed from a car with a wire fitted to a piece of cork which they held between their teeth.
Maurice Garin was the first man to cross the finishing line, but was later disqualified after it was discovered he had gone part of the way by train.

His main rival fell from his bike fast asleep, after being fed a chicken leg containing a concealed sleeping pill, and other competitors were hindered by having laxatives put in their water-bottles, itching powder in their jumpers, and sandpaper in their shorts.

Princess Anne was the only woman who wasn’t gender tested at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

Buggerare is Italian for
 ‘to cheat’ or ‘swindle’.


Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad.

Famous Cheats

  • Ben Johnson, Canadian sprinter disqualified for use of the anabolic steroid stanozolol in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
  • All East German Olympic teams in the 1970s and 1980s, who were drugged by their trainers.
  • Tonya Harding, US iceskater who had Nancy Kerrigan mugged before the 1994 Olympics. Kerrigan took silver despite the attack whereas Harding came eighth and was disqualified for life.
  • Boris Onischenko, Ukrainian fencer who rigged his sword to register non-existent hits in the 1976 Olympics.
  • Diego Maradona's ‘hand of God’ goal in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final.
  • Abbes Tehami, winner of the 1991 Brussels marathon until it was noticed that he had shaved his moustache off during the race - his trainer had started the race, and he had finished it.
  • Rosie Ruiz, first to cross the line in the 1980 Boston Marathon, but she had jumped in and only ran for the last half-mile. It turned out that she had achieved her qualifying time in New York by riding the subway, too.

Eurovision Cheat

In the 1968 Eurovision song contest, Cliff Richard led the field until the last minute with his classic ditty, Congratulations, only to be pipped at the post by the Spanish entry La la la, sung by Massiel.

A documentary film broadcast in Spain claimed that executives from Spain's state-run TV, channel RTE, toured Europe offering cash and other bribes to influence the vote. It is alleged that the Franco regime hoped that winning the Eurovision would stimulate tourism, boost the regime's popularity and improve its image.

In a survey of 43,000 US high school students 59% admitted cheating on a test during the previous year.

A study by the University of Oslo showed that primates with bigger testicles were more likely to be unfaithful.