Sports

How an Olympian can fall from grace
From the heights of greatness, to the depths of defeat, these athletes struggled in the light of Olympic fame. 

MarionJonesMedal

Once considered the fastest woman in the world, U.S. track star Marion Jones was sentenced to prison and had to give back her five medals from the 2000 Sydney Olympics after lying to federal investigators about taking performance-enhancing drugs.

(AP)

taibabilonia

Figure skater Tai Babilonia and her partner Randy Gardner were favored to win a gold medal during the 1980 Winter Games, but injury prevented Gardner from performing. In 1988, Babilonia was hospitalized after overdosing on pills, authorities said at the time. Her manager had denied that it was a suicide attempt.

(AP)

paulhammmedalshot

Paul Hamm, the first U.S. man to win a world or Olympic all-around title was accused of kicking a cab driver while intoxicated, damaging a taxi window and not paying a $23 fair in 2011. Hamm pleaded no contest on a reduced set of charges and was sentenced to probation.

(AP)

SherylSwoops2

Sheryl Swoops, the three-time gold medalist in basketball, filed for bankruptcy in 2004 after reportedly owing more than $700,000, including $275,000 to the IRS. Swoops wound up selling her Olympic medals and other memorabilia to help pay off the debt.  

(AP)

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Olympic gold medal sprinter Tim Montgomery pleaded guilty in 2007 in connection with a multimillion-dollar bank fraud and money-laundering scheme.

Montgomery, along with his track coach and 11 others, was charged in an alleged conspiracy to deposit $5 million in stolen, altered or counterfeit checks.

Montgomery set the world record in the 100-meter sprint at the Paris 2002 Olympic Games, but later admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs and was stripped of his medal and record.

(AP)

BENjohnson

Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson set a world record during the Seoul Olympics in 1988 in the 100-meter dash, but three days later tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug. He was stripped of both the medal and the record.

(AP)

TonyaHarding

Figure skater Tonya Harding, a two-time Olympian, was banned for life from the U.S. Figure Skating Association because of her role in an attack on skating rival Nancy Kerrigan. 

In what is perhaps the most infamous scandal in skating history, an assailant clubbed Kerrigan in the knee in an attempt to knock her out of the 1994 Olympic Games.

Harding avoided jail time by accepting a plea bargain that included three years' probation, 500 hours of community service and a $160,000 fine. She later spent time as a professional boxer.

(AP)

How an Olympian can fall from grace

From the heights of greatness, to the depths of defeat, these athletes struggled in the light of Olympic fame. 

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