5 – Kostas Kenteris & Ekaterini Thanou – 2004 Athens Olympics
Not only one of the top 5 biggest steroid scandals, but also one of the most bizarre. These two Greek sprinters were among the biggest hopes for Olympic gold in the 2004 Athens Olympics. Greek fans were doomed to disappointment, however, when the pair failed to show up for a scheduled drug test. They claimed to have been in a motorcycle accident that prevented them from attending the testing. An investigation into the incident ruled that it had been staged. The pair withdrew from the games, claiming it was in the best interests of their country. Though they never actually tested positive for a banned substance, their failure to attend the drug test and subsequent withdrawal from the Olympic Games being hosted in their home country was scandalous behavior, to say the least.
4 – Marion Jones
Marion Jones won 5 medals at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and now they are all gone. The medals were stripped from Jones after announcing in October 2007 that she had, in fact, used steroids after lying to two grand juries, claiming she’d never used performance-enhancing drugs. She formally announced her retirement from track and field after receiving a two year suspension from the sport.
3 – Floyd Landis
Floyd Landis was stripped of the 2006 Tour-de-France title after it was revealed testing after stage 17 of the race showed him to have an unusually high testosterone/epitestosterone ratio. Along with the loss of his title, he was slapped with a 2 year ban from the sport. He appealed the decision, but lost. Perhaps only Major League Baseball is currently under greater scrutiny than the Tour-de-France when it comes to the biggest steroid scandals in sports.
2 – Ben Johnson – 1988 Seoul Olympics
TIn Seoul, South Korea in 1988, Ben Johnson gave Canadians one of their biggest thrills in the history of their participation in the Olympic Games, setting a world record and capturing an Olympic gold medal in the 100 Meter race, beating rival Carl Lewis in the process. 3 days later that euphoria turned to astonishment and then to shame as it was revealed that Johnson had tested positive for steroids. Johnson’s steroid scandal is one of the darkest moments in Canadian sports history, and even Donovan Bailey’s 1996 win in the 100 Meter in Atlanta cannot purge the bitter taste left by this giant scandal.
1 – Lance Armstrong
For years he was America’s golden boy, coming back from a battle with testicular cancer to win seven Tour-de-France races. Allegations of doping followed him through the years, yet somehow Lance Armstrong avoided being caught red-handed. Finally, when the mountain of evidence weighed too heavily against him he finally admitted to the world (via Oprah) that he had indeed used performance enhancing drugs, ending a saga of lies that crushed the hearts of so many millions that had once hailed him as a hero.