Going too far to win: A look back at infamous sports scandals

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Saturday, January 13, 2018
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Take a look back at some of the sports world's most infamous scandals.

Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan are back in the headlines following the release the of Harding biopic, "I, Tonya", but "the whack" heard 'round the world isn't the only scandal that has sports fans still talking. Take a look at some of the other moments that drove everyone from parents to top executives to turn to illegal means to gain the advantage over an opponent.

Wanda Holloway - A Texas Cheerleader Mom's Murder Plot

January 31, 1991 - Channelview, Texas

It's not unusual for parents to do whatever it takes to see their kids succeed, but Wanda Holloway took it to a new level in 1991 when she was arrested for hiring a hit man to kill the mother of her daughter's cheerleading rival.

The intended target was Verna Heath, mother of Amber Heath. Police say Holloway's theory was that if Amber's mother was killed, the student would be too distraught to try out for cheerleader, making it easier for Holloway's daughter Shanna to land a spot on the squad.

Holloway turned to her former brother-in-law for help arranging the plot, who played along with the plan just enough to help the sheriff's department catch her before anyone got hurt.

Holloway, who was later nicknamed "the pom pom mom," was arrested and charged with solicitation of capital murder.

Despite being convicted, her first trial was overturned. She pleaded no contest and ended up serving six months of a 10-year sentence.

Related: REMEMBER WHEN: Texas cheerleader mom murder for hire case

Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan - Baton Attack

January 6, 1994 - Detroit, Michigan

A practice session for the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships became the center of one of the most unforgettable scandals in sports. Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed on the knee with a collapsible metal baton after she'd left the ice.

Her cries still echo today along with questions about the extent of the role that her competitor Tonya Harding played in the attack. Harding's ex-husband Jeff Gillooly hired the man who hit Kerrigan to try to knock her out of the competition.

Harding went on to the win the Championships in Detroit and landed a spot on the Olympic team, but so did Kerrigan. Harding denies involvement in the scheme but admitted to ABC News she knew something was up before the attack.

Gillooly was sentenced to two years in prison. Harding pleaded guilty to conspiring to hindering prosecution and was banned for life from the U.S. Figure Skating Association.

RELATED: Tonya Harding: After infamous Kerrigan attack, where is she now

Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield - The Bite Fight

June 28, 1997 - Las Vegas, Nevada

Billed as "The Sound and the Fury," the bout between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield may be considered one of the most shocking moments in sports - especially because a chunk of one fighter's ear ended up in the ring.

During the second round of this match, Holyfield headbutted Tyson, leaving him with a cut above his right eye. Tyson complained about headbutting the first time they fought. However, referee Mills Lane ruled this incident accidental.

In what Tyson said was retaliation for the headbutting, he bit Holyfield's right ear in the third round. The fight continued and Tyson bit Holyfield again, this time on the left ear.

Tyson was disqualified, had his boxing license revoked and was fined $3,000,000. Some speculate Tyson was trying to get out of the fight.

His boxing license was reinstated about 18 months later.

Nelson Piquet Jr. - Crashed on purpose to help teammate

September 28, 2008 - Marina Bay, Singapore

Controversy dominated the Singapore Grand Prix when Renault F1 driver Nelson Piquet Jr. crashed during lap 14. He initially claimed the crash was a mistake.

After he was fired from the team almost a year later in 2009, Piquet said that the Renault team's boss asked him to crash in a specific spot to give teammate Fernando Alonso a better shot at winning the race, which he went on to do.

Renault was charged with conspiracy and denied the accusations of cheating. However, in an about-face, Renault chose not to contest the allegations as two top officials quit and bans on the team were put in place.

Christopher Correa - Hacking the Houston Astros

June 16, 2015 - Houston, Texas

The New York Times was the first to report in the summer of 2015 that the FBI and the Justice Department were investigating members of the front-office of the St. Louis Cardinals for hacking the Houston Astros' player personnel database.

The person who would eventually plead guilty to it was now-former St. Louis scouting executive Christopher Correa, who was banned from working for the MLB for life.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Correa's intrusion into the Astros database began in January 2012 and included accessing a list of potential players to draft.

Correa pleaded guilty to five counts of unauthorized access of a protected computer and is now serving a 46-month sentence.

SEE ALSO: Chris Correa still alleges Astros first stole information from Cardinals

Yasuhiro Suzuki - Spiked a rival kayaker's drink

September 2017 - Komatsu, Japan

A Japanese kayaker tried to take out his competition by drugging him. Yasuhiro Suzuki admitted to putting a banned steroid in canoer Seiji Komatsu's drink after Komatsu failed a doping test.

The incident happened during the Japan Championships in September.

According to a source, Suzuki, 32, did it because he felt pressure from younger athletes, including Komatsu, who is 25.

On January 9, 2018, the Japan Anti-Doping Agency banned Suzuki for eight years, meaning he'll miss the 2020 and 2024 Olympics.

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