Unsportsmanlike Conduct at Olympics
Angel Valodia Matos
Cuban taekwondo athlete Angel Valodia Matos, a gold medal winner at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, stunned onlookers by kicking a referee after his disqualification in the bronze medal match for taking too much time for an injury. The World Taekwondo Federation banned Matos and his coach for life.
Abrahamian, a Swedish wrestler who won silver at the Athens Olympics, lost during the semifinal round in Beijing to Italy's Andrea Minguzzi. He would later accuse the judges of corruption. After winning the third-place match, Abrahamian stepped off the podium, dropped his bronze medal in the middle of the wrestling mat and stormed out of the ceremony in protest. Following the IOC's disciplinary hearing, Abramian was disqualified and kicked out of the Games for violating the spirit of fair play.
A boxer from Tajikistan, Kurbanov (red) defeated Abbos Atoev of Uzbekistan and Marijo Šivolija of Croatia to advance to a quarterfinal bout with Kazakhstan's Yerkabulan Shynaliyev (blue). But Kurbanov was disqualified from the tournament after biting Shynaliyev on the shoulder.
China's pitchers plunked five U.S. batters, sending right fielder Matt LaPorta to the hospital. The Americans exacted a form of payback by plowing over a pair of Chinese catchers at the plate.
The horse from Norway's bronze-medal team -- along with three others in the equestrian team jumping event -- tested positive for the pain reliever capsaicin and earned suspensions from the sport's international governing body.
James Blake-Fernando Gonzalez
America's James Blake was irate when Fernando Gonzalez didn't come clean after an errant ball deflected off his racket while traveling out of bounds. The umpire missed the call and awarded the critical point to the Chilean, who would eventually prevail 4-6, 7-5, 11-9.
Amy Van Dyken
The six-time gold medalist had the charming habit of spitting a mouthful of water into the lane of her nearest competitor -- "for good luck," she claimed. But Van Dyken took a lot of heat after doing the watery honors to Holland's Inge De Bruijn before the 50-meter freestyle final at the Sydney Games. After finishing fourth to De Bruijn, who bagged three golds, Van Dyken sniffed that she could have won "if I were a man" -- a snarky suggestion that De Bruijn was using performance-enhancers.
Bulgarian weightlifting team
Bulgaria's Izabela Dragneva -- the first women's weightlifting champion in Olympic history -- and bronze medalist Sevdalin Minchev were stripped of their medals and booted from the 2000 Olympics after testing positive for a banned diuretic. Bulgaria's entire weightlifting team was also given the bum's rush from Sydney and suspended from international competition for a year after it refused to fork over a $50,000 fine. "They have brought the sport of weightlifting into worthless repute," lamented IWF vice president Sam Coffa.
U.S. men's hockey team
As if failing to medal wasn't embarrassing enough, the U.S. team, featuring such NHL luminaries as Brett Hull, Jeremy Roenick and Chris Chelios, was widely condemned for its Animal House behavior after trashing its dorm in Nagano, Japan, to the sour tune of $3,000 in damages after being eliminated from the Games. Chairs were busted, rooms were doused by fire extinguishers, and a bike was tossed from a fifth-floor window in a rampage worthy of the most rowdy rock stars.
Boris Onischenko (left) of the USSR was found to have used an épée which had a pushbutton on the hilt in the fencing portion of the pentathlon event. This button, when activated, would cause the electronic scoring system to register a hit whether or not the epée had actually connected with the target area of his opponent. As a result of this discovery, he and the entire male USSR pentathlon team were disqualified.
U.S. men's basketball team
The youngest U.S. team in Olympic history saw its 63-game win snapped by the archrival Soviet Union in the final agonizing ticks of the gold medal game. Referees twice put precious seconds back on the clock with the U.S. ahead, 50-49. First, the Soviets argued they'd signaled for a time out. Then play was restarted after the final buzzer because the clock had not been reset after the first stoppage. Given yet another chance, Alexander Belov snared a full-court pass and dropped in the winning lay-up at the buzzer. The U.S. filed a formal protest with the International Basketball Federation and refused to pick up its silver medals. To this day, the members of the team have not accepted them.
Hungary-USSR Water Polo
Hungary defeated the USSR in the "Blood in the Water" polo game. After Soviet tanks rolled through Budapest, the Hungarian team delivered a perceived blow for freedom by beating the Soviets in a game remembered for its violence more than its final score.
While trumpeting Aryan supremacy at the Berlin Games, the Nazi dictator summoned German gold medalists Tilly Fleischer and Hans Woellke to his box to congratulate them, but he left the stadium after African-American Cornelius Johnson, a supposed "non-human" in the eyes of Hitler, won the high jump. More famously, Jesse Owens later won four track and field golds in another embarrassment for the preening Nazis.