Athletes competing in the ancient Olympic games were venerated for their prowess and ability. Here, on these original Olympiad grounds of now toppled temples and former glory, visitors are reminded of the elevated role honor played within competition.
Two thousand years ago, competitors heading toward the stadium tunnel walked between two rows of statues. On their right was a famous marble row of heroic athletes, victors all. On the left, however, stood 16 statues of Olympic cheaters, eternally dishonored and living in infamy. Their chiseled names remain visible to this day.
The Olympic message was as clear then as it is today: Don’t cheat!
Unfortunately, the high stakes of national pride, professional athletics and simple hubris have led others to conclude that the more important lesson in sports competition is different: Don’t get caught cheating.
Doping, steroids, gender faking, age falsification, judge bribing, opponent knee-capping, hitchhiking to a marathon finish … the list of cheats is long and creative. Yet despite millennia of getting caught, cheaters abound. Read more