Sex, Lies, and Doping

Doping, Racist Tweets, and Throwing Games: Olympics Hall of Shame (PHOTOS)

From American judo fighter Nick Delpopolo booted for having weed in his system to game-throwing badminton players, a look at the athletes leaving London in disgrace or coming under suspicion.

Gabby Douglas. Missy Franklin. Oscar Pistorius. These are names the world will remember for decades to come, Olympic athletes whose feats of strength, skill, and determination filled their nations with pride, and left viewers around the globe spellbound. They’re athletes who belong in an Olympics Hall of Fame. On the other end of the spectrum, there are athletes such as the U.S.A.’s Nick Delpopolo, Italy’s Alex Schwazer, and Switzerland’s Michel Morganella, whose transgressions with drug use, doping, and racist tweeting got them booted from London in disgrace. Here’s a look at the exploits of 2012 Olympians who have earned a place in the Olympics Hall of Shame.

Paul Sancya / AP Photo

Nick Delpopolo, U.S.A., Judo

Team USA judo fighter Nick Delpopolo (in blue) became the first American athlete to be expelled from the London Games after failing an in-competition doping test. The drug in question: literally, dope. The 23-year-old New Jersey native claims he accidentally ate an unidentified treat before the Games that had been baked with marijuana. A reminder to us all: always ask if there’s pot in the brownies. Nick Delpopolo, from the highest of highs (heh) to the lowest of lows.

Armando Franca

Nadja Drygalla, Germany, Rowing

Germany’s eight-woman rowing team did not even make the Olympics finals, but one member of the octet, 23-year-old Nadja Drygalla (center), still found her name plastered  in headlines after reports surfaced that her boyfriend is a far-right extremist. Drygalla voluntarily left the Olympic village following the reports “so as not to be a burden for the team,” says the head of Germany’s Olympic committee, Michael Vesper. German public broadcaster ARD reported that Drygalla’s boyfriend is a leading member of “Rostock National Socialists,” which is a party described as racist, anti-Semitic, and inspired by Nazis.

Harry How / Getty Images

Henrik Rummel, U.S.A., Rowing

Rower Henrik Rummel appeared very excited when he stood on the top of the medal stand with his American teammates after winning the gold. He appeared so excited, in fact, that rumors, um, grew that he was aroused during the medal ceremony. The reports raged so hard that Rummel (second from left) was forced to make an official statement clarifying that he was not, in fact, “just happy to see you.” He explains that tight rowing shorts simply leave nothing to the imagination: “This is me and I swear it’s not erect! I don’t know why it ended up in that position but there you go.”

David J. Phillip / AP Photo

Taoufik Makhloufi, Algeria, Track and Field

Taoufik Makhloufi: petulant? Or just victim of an unfortunate mix-up? The Algerian track star (left) initially was disqualified from Olympic competition after he jogged a mere half a lap in the 800-meter race, eventually stopping his run altogether. A race official believed he violated the Olympic ideal by not putting forth an honest effort. Makhloufi later was reinstated after it was determined that he had been hampered by a knee injury, and went on to win the 1,500-meter gold. It was later revealed that after handily winning his 1,500 semifinal, Makhloufi no longer wanted to compete in the 800-meter race at all, but was forced to the starting line when his country did not withdraw his entry soon enough.

Stu Forster / Getty Images

Alex Schwazer, Italy, Race Walking

To the uninitiated, race walking seems—and looks—ridiculous. But the combination of precision and speed it requires actually ranks it among one of the Olympics’ most arduous sports, perhaps explaining the pressure that might have led defending Olympic champion Alex Schwazer to use banned performance substances. The Italian star, who won gold in Beijing, failed a doping test that was administered prior to his arrival in London, which barred him from competition.

Paul Ellis / AFP / Getty Images

Michel Morganella, Switzerland, Soccer

All it takes is 140 characters to get booted from the Olympic Games. Swiss soccer player Michel Morganella was expelled after an offensive tweet following his country’s 2–1 loss to South Korea a day earlier. Written in French, the tweet said he wanted to beat up South Koreans, that they should “burn” and that they are a “bunch of mongoloids.” The Swiss committee chief said Morganella “discriminated against, insulted and violated the dignity” of the South Korean team, in explaining the decision to ban him from the games.

Matt Dunham / AP Photo

Voula Papachristou, Greece, Track and Field

Morganella wasn’t alone in sending out racist tirades on Twitter. Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou was kicked off the country’s Olympic team after posting comments on Twitter that mocked African immigrants and insinuated ties to radical political parties. “With so many Africans in Greece, the West Nile mosquitoes will be getting home food!!!” she tweeted. Papachristou also posted several links related to, and retweeted sites and videos promoting, the extreme-right party Golden Dawn.

Bryn Lennon / Getty Images

Victoria Baranova, Russia, Cycling

Russian cyclist Victoria Baranova (left) was ranked No. 2 in the world and was considered a frontrunner to medal in London. Then the 22-year-old was officially expelled and sent home after failing a pre-Olympics test for testosterone. Her accreditation was taken away, and her case was forwarded to the international federation for any further sanctions.

Raul Arboleda / AFP / Getty Images

Diego Palomeque, Colombia, Track and Field

Diego Palomeque desperately hopes his plan B works out. The 18-year-old Colombian runner (right) was temporarily banned from competition following a positive test for testosterone from a sample given before the Games began. Now, a second, backup sample is being tested. If it also comes back positive, Palomeque faces a two-year suspension. “Cheats are being caught and ejected,” said International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams. “At this stage it is a pretty low number.”

Kiyoshi Ota / Getty Images

Kim Collins, St. Kitts and Nevis, Track and Field

Not even national heroes are allowed to miss practice. That’s the message St. Kitts and Nevis, in the West Indies, sent when it expelled star runner and former world champion Kim Collins, after he went missing for days, failing to report to team meetings and refusing to answer calls and emails. Collins claims he was visiting his wife outside the Olympic Village. “They’re asking me to abandon my wife for the team,” Collins said. “It’s not going to happen.”

Christophe Simon / AFP / Getty Images

Josh Booth, Rower, Australia

Athletes’ raucous partying following the Olympics closing ceremonies is notorious. But Australian rower Josh Booth apparently couldn’t wait to start the fun. Booth (not pictured) was axed from the Australian team after embarking on a drunken rampage set off by his team’s last-place finish in the finals. Included in the damage were smashed windows at two businesses in Egham, near the Royal Holloway Games rowing village, totaling roughly $2,200. "I'm deeply ashamed of my actions on Wednesday night; they do not in any way reflect the type of values I hold, the type of person I am, and the person I aspire to be," said Booth, who managed to avoid criminal charges.

Matt Slocum / AP Photo

Cameron van der Burgh, South Africa, Swimming

South African swimmer Cameron van der Burgh broke the world record when he won the gold medal in the 100m breaststroke. And even he says he cheated. Recently, rules were changed to allow breastrokers one dolphin kick during their underwater streamlines. Video replays show van der Burgh taking three kicks—something that would have disqualified him had judges caught it. Not only does van der Burgh own up to the illegal move, he defends it. “If you’re not doing it, you’re falling behind,” he said. “It’s not obviously—shall we say—the moral thing to do, but I’m not willing to sacrifice my personal performance and four years of hard work for someone that is willing to do it and get away with it.” 

Andres Leighton / AP Photo

Yu Yang, Wang Xiaoli, and others, Badminton, China, South Korea, and Indonesia

In the U.S., badminton may be one of those airs-at-4-a.m.-and-gets-no-coverage, obscure Olympic sports nobody pays attention to. But in much of the world—and especially in China—it’s a marquee event. So when eight female badminton players—two from China—were expelled for deliberately losing games to put themselves in more advantageous positions in the knockout round of competition, a nation hung its head. China’s Olympic Committee derided the behavior as going against “sporting spirit and morality.” Chinese basketball star Yao Ming expressed his disappointment. For “a nation obsessed with gold medals, stars, and the ‘feather hair ball,’” says The Daily Beast’s Dan Levin, the scandal is positively “devastating.”