Athletes Who Went From Hero to Zero


The world of sport has seen its fair share of controversy and stories that have crippled legends. Unfortunately, there are those athletes that just cannot really contain themselves once the fame and fortune hits. These two elements can send many athletes a little crazy, and then on the flip side, you have athletes who are willing to risk everything to reach the top. This includes taking performance-enhancing supplements, which have often been a cause of athletes losing their fame – and their fortune!

Throughout this short post, we will be looking at athletes who had it all and then managed to blow it due to behaving badly, taking things they shouldn’t be, and other reasons. Without keeping you in suspense any longer, let’s look at these bad boys of the sporting world. 

Tiger Woods

Woods is an incredible golfer, there is absolutely no questioning that. He has been the most successful golfer of all time, and indeed one of the richest, with around $800 million to his name at the time of writing. However, as you probably know, Tiger Woods hit a pretty low time in his life just over 10 years ago. He was shrouded in cheating scandals, and famously, he crashed his car while under the influence of some rather powerful drugs. It was at that point that Tiger Woods really started to hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Certainly from a sports betting perspective, it seemed like Woods would never reach the same heights ever again. He went from being a hero of golf to being labeled as a disloyal and flawed person, but like all great champions, Woods managed to find a way out of the darkness. It may have taken him a decade, but he came back and lifted another Masters trophy in 2019. This comeback was arguably even more impressive than when he was in his prime, as it showed that he was able to overcome even the greatest odds to get back to where he deserves to be. 

Lance Armstrong

This is probably the most famous doping scandal in sports history. If you don’t yet know about Lance Armstrong, you’re in for a treat here. Armstrong managed to win 7 Tour de France titles after overcoming serious testicular cancer, which is what made his sporting success so incredible in the first place. However, in 2012 the truth was revealed, and we all got to know that Armstrong had been doping in a big way! 

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There have been talks of regular blood transfusions after a race, EPO abuse, and other instances of cheating. Needless to say, Armstrong lost his appearance of invincibility, and he truly went from being adored to being a villain of the sport. The scandal is still far from over too, as teammates have even sued Armstrong recently for encouraging them to engage in doping scandals for the benefit of the team. 

Justin Gatlin

This one may not be as high profile as Woods’ breakdown or Armstrong’s doping scandals, but it’s still a pretty big story. Justin Gatlin seems like a guy who just could not learn from his mistakes throughout his career. He tested positive for performance enhancers in 2001, receiving a two-year ban following the test. Then in the 2004 Olympics, he managed to win three medals, but it would seem that Gatlin’s old ways would come back to haunt him.

He obviously didn’t learn his lesson, as he tested positive again in 2006 for performance enhancers. But this time, Gatlin was banned from the professional sport for 8 years, essentially putting an end to what were maybe the best years of his sporting life. In fact, he would have been banned for life had he not cooperated with the relevant authorities! 


These guys are not the first to be shrouded in such scandals, and sadly, they won’t be the last. The temptation of superhuman bodies and unnatural abilities in sports will always drag athletes into taking enhancements. Of course, huge success also comes with its own share of temptation, as seen with Tiger Woods’ high-profile stories. 

It’s always a bit of a cat and mouse game in sport, especially with doping. The tests are getting better at detecting banned substances, yet the athletes are also getting better at hiding them. These kinds of scandals will always be present in sport, and as time goes by, we will no doubt see plenty more.