For these people, the world could have been very different. They were stars like no others but in a bid to go further, they opted for unfair means. Some say that drugs are a part of the sports system today and that technology in making drugs is almost three years ahead of the means to catch them. However, there is always an angle that says that maybe these people became stars because of drugs. Either ways, here’s a look at 10 people who fell from a high pedestal, in the sport as well as in the eyes of their fans.
10. Diego Armando Maradona
To say that there is no greater footballer, would not be a fallacy! Diego Maradona is the greatest player ever, who took his team to the World Championships as well as numerous league titles, sometimes singlehandedly. His fantastic career was marred by the odd incident like the famous fight during his FC Barcelona days or the regular verbal spats with Pele.
However, Maradona tested positive for cocaine, a drug he had been using for leisure since the mid 1980s. Towards the end of his playing career, cocaine addiction became a major battle for Diego and even after he helped the team win their first game against Greece, he tested positive for Ephedrine. Undoubtedly the biggest name on this list, Maradona only comes in at number 10 because of the stage of his career when he was caught. Otherwise, he would have probably been big enough to take up the 1st, 2nd and 3rd spot.
09. Shawne Merriman
Fresh out of college in 2005, Merriman was an explosive outside linebacker, and he carried his fantastic ability into the NFL. With 39.5 sacks in his first 43 games, Merriman had been named Defensive Rookie of the Year. On 22nd October 2006, Merriman was given a 4 game suspension after testing positive for an anabolic steroid. With three pro-bowl selections behind him, Merriman was one of the most feared players in the NFL. However, once the cause of his scary ability was found out, Merriman seemed more human than ever. He still plays football for the San Diego Chargers and makes over $11.5 million a year.
08. Jose Canseco
Not a great player himself, Jose Canseco wasn’t one to make big money out of baseball. However, he decided to go the author way and penned down a book that not only described his habits of taking steroids, but also told of how rampant it, the tradition of taking drugs, was in the MLB. He not only named himself, but brought in the names of players such as Mark McGwire, Jason Giambi, Rafael Palmeiro, Ivan Rodriguez and Juan Gonzalez. Well, if playing baseball can’t make money for you, writing about its dark side surely can.
07. Ben Johnson
A sprinter from the 1980s, Ben Johnson was one of the stars of the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games. Trying to get ahead of Carl Lewis, Johnson decided to use Stanozolol in a bid to further his chances. Not only did Johnson beat Lewis, he also set a world record. However, three days later, his truth was found out and not only was the gold medal stripped off, Johnson’s career just went downhill from that point forth.
06. Floyd Landis
He won the 2006 Tour de France after going into the race as a rank outsider. The parts where he was supposed to be the slowest, Landis raced up the hills. After the Tour de France was over, and Landis had won, the team made an announcement that Landis had tested positive for a high ratio of a Testosterone. In fact, Landis had three times the testosterone of a normal human being. This wasn’t surprising for a sport where doping has always been rampant.
It is often said that everyone dopes in cycling, its just those who do more than others, that are caught.
05. The Chinese Swim Team
The entire Chinese swim team comes in at five for being stupid. One has to say though, they all had variety. A country that didn’t register anywhere on the list in the world of swimming, until the 1990s, suddenly took 4 Gold medals at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Then they went on to win 12 of the 16 events at the world championships, two years later.
Cue drug test! Eleven athletes tested positive at the 1996 Olympics, while another was caught at the 1998 world championships. The team keeps going down every now and then, before coming back up again with drugs in their system. Resilient lot, these Chinese swimmers!
04. The Entire US Athletics Team
In 2003, the US Olympic committee anti-doping chief filed a 30,000 page report where he named more than 100 athletes, including 5 Olympic medallists, as being involved in doping. Dr. Wade Exum reported that 19 American medallists, including Carl Lewis, were allowed to participate at various Olympic Games between 1988 and 2000, despite having failed drug tests.
When Ben Johnson was disqualified, his Gold Medal was handed over to Carl Lewis. Imagine how he feels now!
03. Alex Rodriguez
Possibly the biggest name in American baseball from the modern era, Alex Rodriguez admitted to using steroids between 2001 and 2003. However, at the time, there were no anti-doping laws in baseball and that meant doping was legal. In a bid to further his career, Rodriguez took drugs and “A-Fraud” became the highest-paid baseball player in the history of the game.
02. Marion Jones
She was the Michael Phelps of athletics, or should we say Phelps was the Jones of swimming. Either way, you get the idea of how these individuals dominated their sport. When Jones came out with her confession that she took performance enhancing drugs, her five medals from the 2000 Olympic Games were stripped off. She admitted to lying to friends, family, the press, and 2 grand juries, about her drug abuse. Despite being suspended for just two years, Jones decided to retire and ended her career prematurely.
01. Roger Clemens
He took anabolic steroids to get into the 300 win-club, with 354 to his name. His 7 Cy Young awards are a record till date while his stats boasted of an incredible 3.12 career ERA and 4, 672 strikeouts. He denied injecting himself with any banned substances, under oath, while his trainer admitted to injecting him, under oath as well. Clemens will still have some breathing space before his time in court comes. However, for the height from which he has fallen, he is the number one athlete to fail our drug test.