The most egregious instances of cheating in Olympic history.

The most egregious instances of cheating in Olympic history.
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You could train for years, devote your life to the mastery of your sport, pursue pure Olympic glory, and gain respect as one of the greatest athletes in the world. Or you could take some shortcuts and enjoy all the glory with a lot less of the work. Here are some people who got all the way to the Olympics only to cheat in really obvious ways.

1. Boris Onischenko.

Medal-winning U.S.S.R. fencer Boris Onischenko competed in the fencing portion of the multi-sport modern pentathlon in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. Knowing that the fencers would be wired with equipment to electronically record any "touch" from their opponent's weapon, Onischenko rigged a even more high-tech system to cheat. Whenever he pushed a hidden button in his handle, it would send out an electrical pulse that would register as a touch. He would've gotten away with it too, had he not pressed the button when his opponent, Jim Fox of the U.K., was nowhere near him.


2. The 1960 Tunisian pentathlon squad.

In 1960, the Tunisian modern pentathlon team was doing so poorly, they almost had no choice but to cheat. In an equestrian event, the whole team fell off their horses. In the swimming section, one of their swimmers almost drowned, and in the shooting portion, a Tunisian competitor just about grazed one of the judges. They weren't taking any chances for the fencing event. Instead of sending out multiple fencers for all of the individual bouts, the team sent out the best fencer every time and said it was somebody different, hoping that those thick fencing masks would obscure his identity. It didn't—judges noticed when the same fencer hit the floor for the third time.

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3. Madeline and Margaret de Jesus.

The track star from Puerto Rico competed in the 4x400-meter relay run in the 1984 Olympics despite getting injured in her other event, the long jump. How'd she do it? She pulled a Parent Trap, or a Sweet Valley High, or what was likely a plot point in any number of Olsen Twins videos: Madeline got her twin sister, Margaret, to run in the qualifying heat of the relay. The Puerto Rican team advanced, but then the coach found out and pulled them out of the race. Both sisters were banned from any further Olympic competition.

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4. Fred Lorz.

The automobile was a relatively newfangled gadget in 1904, and didn't really go very fast. However, riding in one was still easier than running, and still illegal to use in an Olympic track and field event. But that's exactly what American marathon runner Fred Lorz did. After getting cramps early in his race, Lorz secretly rode for 11 miles in a car, which is a big part of how he finished first.

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5. Dora Ratjen.

While we've made great strides culturally with regards to gender identity, the Olympics are still pretty strict about "male" and "female." It's thought to be more fair that way, for better or for worse. The notion that men are superior athletes to women is an antiquated one, but it's one that Nazi Germany exploited in 1936 as a way to try o demonstrate the superiority of their master race. At the 1936 Olympics, Dora Ratjen of Germany finished fourth in the women's high jump. Two years later, Ratjen set a world record for the same event at an international competition. And in 1939, it was revealed that she was actually a man named Horst Ratjen. Ratjen was not transgender—he had been forced to pose as a woman by the Nazis.

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