Athletes Who Are Great at Cheating

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2014

Athletes Who Are Great at Cheating

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    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Whether fans like it or not, one thing that will always happen in sports is cheating.

    It might put a rotten taste in everyone's mouth, tarnish the game and players' legacies and usually gets a mega-harsh penalty if caught, but athletes will continue to do it.

    As my fellow writer Dan Carson wrote a few months ago, some guys are really bad at it—but today, well, today I'm giving you some athletes who happen to be really, really great at deceiving everyone in their quest of cheating.

Justin Gatlin

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    Many of us probably recognized U.S. track and field sprinter Justin Gatlin as one of the hopefuls to outrun the world's fastest man, Usain Bolt.

    But lest we forget that before Gatlin was able to compete in the Olympics back in 2012, he was actually just a few years removed of a serious ban for doping.

    After initially denying reports of illegal use—don't they all—Gatlin was still able to find himself on the world's grandest stage, which, even after paying the punishment, just seems wrong to me.

NBA Floppers

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    There's a reason why #Lebroning has become a global trend over the past week or so—because he, and a ton of other NBA players—use the technique seemingly every game to draw a foul.

    It might not be on the level of some of the other ways athletes have been able to get away with cheating, but it's still technically something that is banned in the league.

Gaylord Perry

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    It's pretty insane to think that former pitcher Gaylord Perry is in the Hall of Fame, yet admitted to using a spit ball for the entirety of his career.

    While his numbers of 314-265 are impressive, Perry acknowledged wrongdoing by publishing a book in the middle of his playing days entitled, Me & The Spitter: The candid Confessions of Baseball's Greatest Spitball Artist (or How I Got Away With It), which showed that he was using the banned pitch for years.

    It wasn't until Perry's second-to-last game in the big leagues that he actually ever got busted for using the pitch, meaning he tricked everyone into quite the career.

Sergio and Fika Motsoeneng

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    Image via AP/Press Association Images

    I must admit, what brothers Sergio and Fika Motsoeneng did was absolutely genius—if only they wouldn't have eventually gotten caught.

    The Motsoeneng boys thought it to be a good idea to enter the 56-mile Comrades race in South Africa—as one contestant—with each brother rotating during different legs of the race.

    Although they weren't twins, the brothers looked extremely similar, so they figured they'd be able to pull a quick one over everyone.

    While the plan was masterful, they overlooked the placement of their watches—as each wore one on an opposite wrist as the other—which derailed their attempt.

    Regardless, they still only managed to finish ninth anyway even if they had been able to remember to switch their watches.

Danny Almonte

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    AP Photo/Chris Gardner

    Although he ultimately got caught for forging his birth certificate, that doesn't mean that former Little League stud Danny Almonte didn't earn the VIP treatment until he was discovered a liar.

    Dominating opponents in the 2001 Little League World Series, Almonte was the toast of the town, being squired about to meet with the mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, and widely talked about on every sports TV and radio program.

    But like other athletes on this list, Danny was able to enjoy some of the spoils of success—though his dad wasn't as lucky for the stunt he pulled.

Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart

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    In one of the most hyped games of the last decade, then-No. 1 Southern California went into South Bend to take on the overachieving Notre Dame Fighting Irish that lived up to the billing.

    With just a few seconds left, Trojans running back Reggie Bush extended his hands and helped force his quarterback, Matt Leinart, across the goal line for the game-winning score.

    Problem is the "Bush Push" wasn't exactly legal.

    No matter, the play still stood and extended the SC winning streak to 28 games.

Jose Canseco

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    Michael Buckner/Getty Images

    Even though former major leaguer Jose Canseco has admitted that steroids are "overrated" in the past few years, that doesn't mean he can convince me that he entirely regrets ever using them.

    That's because without the needles, Jose would simply be a nobody.

    While he's admitted to using them over the course of his 17-year MLB career, he still duped us all while still on the field, making millions of dollars and landing himself as a B-list celeb since retirement.

Tonya Harding

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    It might be hard to believe now, but 20 years ago, Tonya Harding was one of the best figure skaters on the planet.

    Of course, that all changed on Jan. 6, 1994.

    That was when Harding went all underground gangster on everyone and hired hit men to take out opponent Nancy Kerrigan, with three men—including Harding's ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly—popping Kerrigan in the knee with a telescoping baton.

    Sad thing is it worked, kind of, as Harding was able to compete in the Olympics just a few weeks after the incident before receiving a lifetime ban and a number of other penalties.

Alex Rodriguez

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    OK, so no one knows for sure what's going to happen with New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.

    That doesn't mean he doesn't know what substances he put into his body, with a ton of them being of the banned type.

    In all of the years of speculation about A-Rod and his either admitted PED use or his more recent troubles with it, the 162-game ban he just earned will be the first punishment for the guy.

    He's played 20 seasons in the bigs, so if that's not beating the system, I don't know what is.

Barry Bonds

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    No joke, at this point, I don't even know all the details of Barry Bonds and his alleged PED use—can somebody explain it to me like a small child?

    One thing is definitely clear though—the dude got away with playing and making millions of dollars because of them.

    Bonds is the game's all-time leader in home runs, yet can't even catch a whiff of the Hall of Fame, meaning voters are holding strong to their opinion on Barry using the juice.

Diego Maradona

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    One of the most recognizable and argued plays in the history of sport, the second former Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona scored a goal in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinal against England, he would forever be remembered as a cheater.

    Of course, no one is certain if Maradona blatantly swatted at the ball with his hand or not, but the fact is he scored on an illegal play.

    Finally, back in 2008, Diego did apologize for the "Hand of God," yet the damage was already 20 years past due.

Lance Armstrong

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    Let's not fool ourselves here—former seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong openly lied and got away with his doping for over 10 years.

    Sure, there was always suspicion around Armstrong and the way he battled back from his testicular cancer to win all those yellow jerseys, but it wasn't until he openly admitted to Oprah last year that he finally admitted fault.

    Lance has done some great things outside of cycling, but dude also deceived the sport for a long, long time.