“The Cheaters, Dopers & Faker’s Hall of Fame.”

Rosie Ruiz died last month. A pioneer in long distance running, Rosie was the first woman to cross the finish line in the 1980 Boston Marathon. At 2.31.56, Rosie Ruiz’s time would have been the fastest ever for a female Boston marathoner except that…and here’s where Rosie should at least be inducted into The Innovation Hall of Fame…instead of actually running the gruelling 26 miles and 385 yards she took public transportation. Having crossed the finish line without breaking a sweat or even mussing up her hair, track officials estimated she ran only the last mile. The fact that Rosie was wearing a bright yellow jersey and not one runner or spectator could remember seeing her on the course was also a bit of a giveaway.
Six months earlier Rosie Ruiz had finished the New York Marathon in just under three hours after being spotted wearing full running gear on that city’s subway system. Rosie’s Boston Marathon time was 25 minutes faster than New York which speaks well of the Massachusetts Transportation Authority. I can only imagine how fast Rosie could run a marathon today what with the arrival of the driverless car!
Sadly, Rosie’s ruse cost Canadian runner Jacqueline Gareau the Boston Marathon victory. Ultimately Gareau was declared the winner and her time of 2.34.28 was the fastest ever by a woman at this event…not in possession of subway tokens.
In 1978 I ran the Skylon Marathon from the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York to the Skylon Tower in Niagara Falls, Ontario and not once did I ask any of the volunteers handing out bottles of water for a local bus schedule. Today I walk an hour a day and even on those days I don’t feel like making the trek, I’ve never considered taking a taxi to Morgan’s Point and back.
I have however always been fascinated by the way in which cheaters cheat. For instance the sheer simplicity with which Russian athletes passed their drug tests at the 2016 Sochi Winter Olympics was a thing of tainted beauty. A hole in the wall! Yeah, Russian Secret Service Agents disguised as technicians hid behind a wall and as bad samples came through the “mouse hole,” they replaced them with good samples. Steroid-enhanced urine IN. Clean urine bottles OUT.
Almost as clever, NFL running back Onterrio Smith was caught delivering clean urine with a device called the ‘Whizzinator,’ a fake penis full of good, clean pee. Baseball’s Manny Ramirez was suspended for 100 games for enhanced testosterone levels and he’s lucky he didn’t get pregnant using such a huge amount of a female fertility drug to do the deed.
Mike Tyson made his career in boxing with his fists…and lost it with his teeth. “Iron Mike” bit most of Evander Hollyfield’s ear off when he realized he was losing the fight. A day after his victory, Hollyfield was introduced at a speaking event as “The Real Deal” which is in fact his nickname to this day. Responded Hollyfield: “Did that guy just call me “The Real Deal” or “The Real Meal”!?!
Also weaponizing his front teeth, Uruguay football star Luis Suarez bit Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder in a 2014 World Cup match. It was the third time Suarez had chomped an opponent. Chiellini had just come on as a substitute which prompted one sports writer–damn I wish I’d said it–not to be so harsh in condemning Suarez because nobody can resist the urge to bite into an Italian sub.
At the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney, Australia the team from Spain turned heads and then stomachs when it was discovered they had faked the tests and credentials of able-boded, sound-minded male athletes to steal medals from amputees and Down Syndrome kids.
My favorite cheater was the professional hockey player who left perfectly completed crossword puzzles around the dressing room. As intended, his teammates thought he was a genius. Until one day one of them actually looked at one of his puzzles and it was pure gibberish Random letters inserted in blank squares.
Thoroughbred jockey Sylvester (nickname “Sly” might have been a bit of a tipoff!) Carmouche enlisted mother nature to help him win a race when a real “pea souper” had descended on Delta Downs in Vinton, Louisiana leaving both humans and horses in a fog. “Sly” pulled Landing Officer off to the side at the start of the race and waited for the other horses as they circled the track. When he heard the thunder of hooves rounding the clubhouse turn, he sprinted Landing Officer to the finish line, and won by a whopping 20 lengths. Much like Rosie Ruiz, Landing Officer was barely breathing hard. A stewart up in the booth counted only eight horses go past the grandstands in the nine-horse race. Carouche was suspended from riding for ten years. Hell yes, it was his idea! Horses aren’t smart enough to fix a race!
And that’s where they should locate “The Cheater, Dopers & Fakers Hall of Fame”– Louisiana. From Governor Huey Long, the most corrupt American politician ever until Donald Trump to the mayor of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, Ray Nagin who should be out of prison any day now–
Louisiana takes the cake for famous cheaters and that cake is iced with larceny.
The saying “cheaters never prosper” has long since been replaced by Richard Nixon’s words: “It’s not cheating unless you get caught.” Cheating is now so prevalent in sports and society in general, thank goodness for the Russians and the Rosie Ruizs of this world–at least they keep it interesting.. And for comments, ideas and copies of The Legend of Zippy Chippy go to www.williamthomas.ca

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