Nero competed in the four-horse chariot race using a 10-horse chariot; Trump also allegedly "cheats like hell"by Ian Irvine / April 17, 2018 / Leave a comment
Published in May 2018 issue of Prospect Magazine
Pausanias in his 2nd century AD guide to Greece mentions cheating at the Olympic Games:
“On the way to the stadium at Olympia there is a stone terrace on which stand bronze images of Zeus. These were paid for with the fines imposed on athletes who wantonly violated the rules of the games. The first six were set up in the 98th Olympiad after Eupolus, a Thessalian, bribed his opponents in the boxing ring—Agetor, an Arcadian, Prytanis of Cyzicus, and Phormio of Halicarnassus, the last of whom had been victorious in the preceding Olympiad…
Pausanias describes another athlete, Callippus of Athens, caught cheating at the pentathalon by trying to bribe his opponents. A fine was imposed, but “the Athenians disdained to pay the money and boycotted the Olympic Games. Only when the god at Delphi declared that he would deliver no oracle on any matter to Athenians until they paid the fine was the matter resolved.”
The Roman historian Suetonius describes the Emperor Nero’s lust for winning:
“From his earliest years he had a special passion for horses and talked constantly about the games in the Circus. As emperor he soon longed to drive a chariot himself and even to show himself frequently to the public.”
Nero ordered the Olympic games to be held two years early, in 67AD, so that he could attend. He competed in the four-horse chariot race using a 10-horse chariot.
“But after he had been thrown from the car and put back in it, he was unable to hold out and gave up before the end of the course. Nevertheless the judges declared him champion. On his departure he presented the entire province with freedom and at the same time gave the judges Roman citizenship and a large sum of money.”
After his death, Nero’s Olympic achievements were removed from the public records and the games of 67AD declared null and void.
Mary Russell Mitford, author of Our Village, famous for its lyrical description of village cricket, writes to the painter Benjamin Haydon in 1823:
“When I wrote to you last I was just going to see a grand match in a fine old park near us, Bramshill, between Hampshire, with Mr Budd, and All England. I anticipated great pleasure from so grand an exhibition, and thought, like a simpleton, the better the play the more the enjoyment. Oh, what a mistake… Everything is spoilt when money puts its ugly nose in. To think of playing cricket for hard cash! Money and gentility would ruin any pastime under the sun. Much to my comfort the game ended unsatisfactorily to all parties, winners and losers. So be it always when men make the noble game of cricket an affair of bettings and hedgings, and, may be, of cheatings.”
In 1882 WG Grace, at 34 the most famous figure in cricket, played in an MCC side against the Australian visiting team at the Oval in what became known as the Ashes Test. At a crucial point in the Australian second innings a young and inexperienced batsman, Sammy Jones, thinking the ball was dead, left his crease to tap down a divot only to be run out by Grace, lurking at point. A letter by the son of one the other Australian players, Hugh Massie, gives his father’s account:
“Jones [had] nodded to Grace,” establishing, he supposed, that he was safe to venture from the crease. “To the amazement of the Australians, the umpire gave Jones out.
“When the Australians were all out and the English team had left the field, [the Australian demon fast bowler Frederick Spofforth] went into the Englishmen’s dressing room and told Grace he was a bloody cheat and abused him in the best Australian vernacular for a full five minutes. As he flung out of the door, his parting shot was ‘This will lose you the match.’”
And it did. The MCC team with only 85 required to win, were all out for 77, Spofforth taking 7 wickets for 44, including Grace for 32. It was the first home defeat of an English team by the Australians and a satirical obituary appeared in the press mourning the death of English cricket and stating that “the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.”
In his recollection of the fixed baseball World Series of 1919, Harry Grabiner, a Chicago White Sox executive, recalled:
“Beyond any doubt, the White Sox front office had more than some inkling of what was going on from the very first game of the 1919 World Series.”
The plan was for the team to lose on purpose against the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for money from a mob gambling syndicate. In the event, excessive betting on Cincinnati, combined with growing rumours of a fix, caused the plan to unravel. Eight White Sox players received life bans for match fixing. No senior management faced censure.
The former England footballer Peter Reid was on the pitch when Diego Maradona scored his infamous “Hand of God,” goal to knock England out of the 1986 World Cup. In his autobiography Cheer Up, Reid wrote:
“Cheat is a strong word to use in football and players hate it when they are accused of being one, so I do not use it lightly… but I can say without fear of contradiction that Diego Maradona is a cheat.
“Years later, Maradona tried to justify his actions by setting them against the backdrop of the Falklands War four years earlier… ‘Whoever robs a thief gets a 100-year pardon,’ he said. But was he really thinking of a disputed territory in the South Atlantic when he led with his hand? Was he f***!”
Recalling her years spent playing golf with President Donald Trump, the professional golfer Suzann Pettersen reflected on his style of play:
“He cheats like hell.”