Nancy Kerrigan Attack
For years the Olympics have been almost as well known for their many scandals as they have been for their many triumphs.
One of the biggest Olympic scandals was the attack on figure skater Nancy Kerrigan in 1994. She wasclubbed in the knee during a practice session for the US Figure Skating Championships as an effort to keep her out of the Olympics. Later, competitor Tonya Harding admitted to covering up her knowledge of the attack which was planned by her ex-husband. Amazingly Tonya took a plea for a $160,000 fine and 500 hours of community service and both girls ended up going on to compete in the 1994 Winter Olympics where Kerrigan took the silver medal and Harding took eighth place.
Olympic scandals are not a new thing. They have been happening as far back as the 1904 Olympic games at least when marathon runner Fred Lorz got tired around mile 9 and hopped in his trainer's car for 11 miles before the car broke down. He then got out and finished on foot, crossed the finish line at the stadium and was declared the winner. He later admitted to cheating and Thomas Hicks was declared the official winner instead.
After the long program pairs skate, everyone expected the Canadians, who skated flawlessly, to come out the winners at the 2002 Winter Olympics but when that didn't happen, everyone knew something was up. The French judge finally admitted to trading her vote for the Russian pairs skaters with a Russian judge who would vote for the French ice dancing team to win. In the end, her vote was thrown out, and the Canadian and Russian teams shared the gold.
Probably the most shocking event ever to happen at an Olympic games was when a Palestinian terrorist group took members of the Israeli Olympic team hostage at the 1972 Summer Olympics. 11 athletes, coaches and judges were eventually killed in the attack. Five of the eight terrorists were also killed by police during a failed rescue attempt. The games were suspended and by the time they resumed many teams had left including the remaining members of the Israeli team and the Egyptians, Phillipines, Algerians and parts of the Dutch and Norwegian teams.
For much of history, one of the requirements to compete in the Olympic games was that you have to be an amateur, meaning that you can't be paid to play sports. Unfortunately for Jim Thorpe it was discovered after he won his gold medals for pentathlon and decathlon in the 1912 Olympic Games that he had been earning $25 a week for playing minor league baseball so they stripped him of his medals. They were later restored to him in 1983, 30 years after his death.