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Top 3 Doping Scandals in Sports

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on July 08, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

We all want to believe in the integrity of sporting contests, and believe that all of the athletes involved are on a level playing field, physically at least. Hence the drive to define performance enhancing drugs, the continuous testing of athletes, and the hysteria over positive tests.

And while it's easy to become apathetic to the latest reports of doped up athletes -- it may be harder to find the clean ones these days -- some stories are so big they can't help but shock you. Here are three of the biggest doping scandals that still reverberate with fans today:

1. From Russia, With Dope

Perhaps due to its recent nature, or the sheer scope of the conspiracy, the top spot has to go the Russians. During the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, the director of Russia's anti-doping lab, Grigory Rodchenkov, estimates he and others working in the testing facility swapped about 100 urine samples during the Sochi Winter Games, including 15 of Russia's 33 medal-winners.

And this was just the tip of the Russian doping iceberg. The problems were so endemic that the entire Russian track and field team has been banned from this summer's Olympics in Rio. The sport's governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), voted unanimously that Russia had not done enough to "restore global confidence in the integrity of its athletes."

2. Live Strong (With Help From Drugs)

Few American athletes captured the world's attention like Lance Armstrong. And few names were as synonymous with doping throughout their careers. Allegations hounded Armstrong for years as he racked up one Tour de France victory after another (7 in total), but the cyclist also racked up one clean test after another and vociferously pointed to his record when defending himself.

That all came crashing down in 2012 when the United States Anti-Doping Agency found Armstrong had been doping throughout his career. He confessed as much in 2013, and his reputation has been in tatters ever since.

3. Play BALCO!

The lab that launched a thousand accusations, suspensions, and even some congressional hearings, the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative was implicated in hundreds of steroid scandals, including Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, and Roger Clemens.

The BALCO scandal rocked baseball, and put every athlete in question.

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