The Summer Olympics of 2000 hosted in Sydney, were stained by one of the biggest and most dishonourable events ever witness in the Olympics.
It is “normal” to hear about positive doping or fixed bets when it comes to sporting events, however faking a mental disability is way too much!
If there’s any sports event that brings joy and inspiration to people, is the Paralympics as we all know how much effort the athletes have to put into each activity.
That’s why when the Spanish Basketball team were revealed as a fraud by an undercover journalist, everyone felt disgusted towards the team.
It all started when Fernando Vicente Martin, ex head of the Spanish Federation for Mentally Handicapped Sports, allowed athletes with no disabilities to participate at the Games in order to win, It was revealed that just 2 out of the 12 players were actually qualified to be in the Paralympics games, the rest did not present any disabilities at all.
The scam was exposed a day before the closing of the games, when the undercover journalist and member of the paralympic team, Carlos Ribagorda, announced that he had participated in the competition without having any intellectual or motor disability, and with the purpose of demonstrating, that most of the players did not suffer any type of disability. The only indispensable requirement to be part of the team was to play basketball.
He declares in a statement:
“My first encounter took place in the bus that took us to the competition, where I could see that nobody was disabled, they all travelled with their partners, it was like a vacation with everything paid,”
also, Ribagorda said “I never had a test to prove my supposed disability, the only thing they asked to know about my physical condition was a medical examination and to do a few push-ups.”
After 13 years of the event, the judge declared Fernando Martín Vicente, as the only one condemned (of the 19 involved) for the fraud of the Paralympic scam.
The fine was of €5,400. In addition, he made a payment of €142,355 to restore the money he allegedly used to subsidise the trip for the fake disabled athletes.
The saddest part was that genuine disabled athletes were affected by this event, left out from competitions, but finally 12 years later, nearly 120 Paralympic athletes were able to go back and compete, after passing different tests that proved they belong to FEDDII (The Spanish Sports Federation for people with Intellectual Disability)