When Bad Sportsmanship Leaves a Stain at Summer Olympics

U.S. womens goalkeeper Hope Solo was suspended Wednesday for six months by U.S. Soccer for disparaging comments about Sweden following the Americans early departure from the Rio Olympics.PlayABCNews.com
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In a qualifying heat for the women's 5,000 meters in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday, American Abbey D'Agostino and New Zealand's Nikki Hamblin received praise for their Olympic spirit. First, when they both fell after getting their legs tangled, D'Agostino helped up Hamblin and urged her to continue. Then Hamblin ended up aiding D'Agostino, who had a knee injury. Both managed to finish the race.

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It was the embodiment of the Olympic charter that promotes "Olympism" and a spirit of "friendship, solidarity and fair play."

But not all Olympians have paid attention to the charter.

In Rio, bad sportsmanship has reared its ugly head several times. Egyptian Islam El Shehaby refused to shake hands after losing a judo match to an Israeli. American soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo said "we lost to a bunch of cowards" after the U.S. was eliminated by Sweden. And Irish boxer Michael Conlan went on an obscenity-laced tirade against officials after a loss.

You can add that trio to this long and varied list of Olympians who have displayed bad attitudes and poor sportsmanship at the Summer Games.

Violence Division

Nicolas Batum, London 2012: With just seconds to go in the France-Spain men's basketball quarterfinal, France's Batum reached around Spain's Juan Carlos Navarro -- who had the ball -- to punch him in his groin. Batum, angry that a Spanish player had just feigned an injury, admitted his guilt. "I wanted to give him a good reason to flop," Batum said. Later, Batum tweeted an apology for his "stupid act."

Angel Matos, Beijing 2008: After being disqualified in a semifinal taekwondo match, the Cuban retaliated. First he pushed a judge, then he kicked the Swedish referee in the face. Matos followed by spitting on the floor and was escorted out. The sport's governing body disqualified him and banned him for life. "This is an insult to the Olympic vision, an insult to the spirit of taekwondo and, in my opinion, an insult to mankind," said Yang Jin-suk, the secretary general of the World Taekwondo Federation.

Melissa Tancredi, London 2012: The Canadian women's soccer player lost her cool in a chippy 4-3 semifinal loss to the United States, appearing to deliberately stomp on the head of American Carli Lloyd late in the game. Tancredi didn't receive a red card for her actions, and FIFA took no action against her.

Uruguay men's basketball team, Helsinki 1952: Uruguay won the bronze medal while making enemies of every team it played. In a rough semifinal against France, all but three Uruguay players fouled out by the end of the game, and Uruguayans twice attacked the U.S. referee because of disputes, once kicking him in the groin. That resulted in the ban of two players from the Olympics. Uruguay's next match resulted in three injured players on the Soviet team. Uruguay finished with a victory over Argentina that included a game-stopping brawl and so many fouls that the teams had only seven players on the court at game's end.

Cheater Division

Boris Onischenko, Montreal 1976: The Soviet army colonel was one of the world's top modern pentathletes and a former world champion, but he was discovered using an epee in the fencing portion of the competition that was illegal. It had been rigged to register hits on opponents via a button on the handle, even when he missed. He was disqualified and sent home.

Fred Lorz, St. Louis 1904: The American, a bricklayer by trade, finished first in the marathon, but he wasn't very sporting about it. After running the first nine miles he started cramping, so he hitched a ride in a car for 11 miles. He got out and walked/ran the final six miles to the finish line, where he was hailed as the victor and posed for photos until he was called out by witnesses. At that point, he claimed it was a joke.

Robert Charpentier, Berlin 1936: The record books show the French cyclist won the 100-kilometer road race, coming from behind to nip teammate Guy Lapebie by 0.2 seconds. Lapebie couldn't understand why he'd felt himself slow as Charpentier passed him. He discovered the reason much later, when he went to see Leni Riefenstahl's Nazi propaganda film "Olympia" about those Games. The final seconds of the race were shown, and Lapebie saw Charpentier reach out and tug Lapebie's shorts as he sped past. Others, however, didn't see the film as conclusive, and the result stood.

Drug cheats, multiple Games: There's Ben Johnson, Marion Jones, Lance Armstrong, the East German swim team, Russian track stars, Tyson Gay and even an Irish swimmer named Michelle Smith, who came out of nowhere to win three gold medals in 1996 at Atlanta. Unfortunately, the list is far too long and growing longer. Bad sportsmanship personified.

Cheater Division, Animal Classification

Waterford Crystal, Athens 2004: The horse of Irish equestrian Cian O'Connor in the showjumping competition tested positive for two banned substances -- used by humans as sedatives -- and O'Connor had to forfeit his gold medal. In 2005, the international governing body of the sport upheld the decision but supported O'Connor's claim that the horse had been given the drugs to keep him calm during treatment of a minor injury.

Violating the Spirit Division

Wladyslaw Kozakiewicz, Moscow 1980: After hearing whistles and jeers almost every time he jumped, the Polish pole vaulter made an obscene gesture toward the hometown fans after setting a world record and winning the gold. The gesture shocked Soviet officials and many fans but earned Kozakiewicz fame back home, where tensions were high with the Soviet Union. He was voted sportsman of the year in Poland.

Italian fencing team, Paris 1924: The team foil event came down to France vs. Italy. When officials allowed a questionable deciding touch to a French fencer, the Italians were furious and verbally assaulted the Hungarian judge, who then complained to a jury of appeal that the Italians had been abusive. The Italian team eventually withdrew, reportedly singing a Fascist party hymn as they left, and forfeited the match and the later individual foil competition.

Four women's badminton doubles teams, London 2012: Two pairs from South Korea and one each from China and Indonesia were disqualified from play for losing on purpose to avoid matchups with stronger teams in the quarterfinals. Their non-efforts elicited jeers from the crowd as they served into the net and let shots drop to the court. In his defense, South Korean coach Sung Han-kook told the media, "The Chinese started this. They did it first."

Philip Hindes, London 2012: When the British cyclist got off to a bad start in the three-man, three-lap team sprint, he admitted to crashing his bike on purpose to get a restart. Rules allow for a restart if there is a crash early in a race. Hindes and his teammates went on to win gold. Hindes, born in Germany to a British father, told reporters after the race, "I did it on purpose to get a restart, just to have the fastest ride. ... It was all planned, really." Later, British cycling officials said Hindes' comments had been "lost in translation" because English was his second language. The French coach said it wasn't cheating, "but it is not very good for the image of cycling."

Team USA, Seoul 1988: At the opening ceremonies, the U.S. team was an undisciplined, free-flowing mass of humanity. Some athletes left the track to wave to family members, a few wore Mickey Mouse ears and several held up signs with messages for television. The South Koreans were offended, and the Americans' movements inhibited other delegations marching near them. Said Canadian Dick Pound, an IOC vice president: "As one of the leading countries in the Olympic Games, with a special role here in Korea, they should have thought, 'Let's not act like total klutzes.' I don't think that's the image the United States wants to be spreading around the world."

Bad Loser Division

Ali Mazaheri, London 2012: The Iranian heavyweight boxer lost his bout with a Cuban but stormed out of the ring without shaking the referee's hand or waiting for the victor's hand to be raised. Mazaheri threw down his headgear and gloves, and then he left. After being called for numerous holding offenses, Mazaheri called the bout "a fix."

Pakistan's men's field hockey team, Munich 1972: Pakistan reached the gold medal game vs. West Germany but lost 1-0 on a goal with 10 minutes to play. Pakistani players disputed the goal, but it was upheld. Fans, team officials and Pakistani players crowded around the judges' table, and someone doused water on the chief of the International Hockey Federation. At the medal ceremony, Pakistan's players turned their backs when the winner's national anthem was played.

Ibragim Samadov, Barcelona 1992: The weightlifter from Russia -- competing for what was called the Unified Team (made up of pieces of the former Soviet Union) -- finished in a three-way tie for first in the light-heavyweight division. But he was awarded third place because he was slightly heavier than his foes (which is considered an advantage). At the awards ceremony, Samadov refused to accept his bronze medal, throwing it to the floor before briskly walking away. When another lifter retrieved it and brought it to him, Samadov threw it down again. He apologized the next day, but he was disqualified and banned for life by the International Weightlifting Federation.

Ara Abrahamian, Beijing 2008: The Greco-Roman wrestler from Sweden felt he was cheated out of a gold medal in 2004 because of judging, so he was angry and disgusted after a loss to an Italian that left him with a bronze medal four years later. After shaking hands with other athletes on the podium, he stepped down, walked to the wrestling mat, threw down his bronze medal and then held an impromptu news conference nearby, blasting officials as corrupt. The IOC disqualified him for his behavior.

Bad Winner Division, Gold

Usain Bolt, Beijing 2008: The Jamaican sprinter blew away the competition in the 100 and 200 meters, but Olympic officials weren't happy with his antics. IOC president Jacques Rogge said Bolt's behavior was over the top and "not the way we perceive being a champion." At the end of the 100 meters, Bolt had pounded his chest and held his arms out wide before the race was over and still set a world record. After setting another record in winning the 200, he mostly ignored all his competitors, danced and walked around the track yelling, "I am No. 1!" Other athletes didn't see a problem, but Rogge said, "He still has to mature."

Bad Winner Division, Silver

McKayla Maroney, London 2012: The American gymnast was favored to win the vault, but a mistake earned her a silver medal instead. On the medal stand, she made a face -- looking as if she were sour about having to settle for silver -- that upset many and went viral as a meme. Later, she said her expression was of disappointment in her performance and not disrespectful of the medal. She took ownership and later posed with President Barack Obama in the White House as they both made the "not impressed" face.