Liars, Cheaters and Thieves in Your Sport: Part I

Situation 4: Lying on an Entry Form

An athlete wants entry into a very prestigious event where getting an entry spot is very difficult. The event is said to select racers through a lottery process, though there are rumors that lottery chances can be enhanced by volunteering for one of the race director's other events.

Additionally, others are rumored to gain entry advantage by being a long-time racer of the event (way before it was so prestigious), a sponsor of the event, a media-notable athlete, a foreign athlete or an athlete from an age or gender group that typically has low representation.

This eager-to-enter athlete possesses none of the rumored lottery enhancers and is not interested in spending their spare time doing any volunteer work for this event director.

The athlete decides that they are at a distinct disadvantage created by "the system". They decide to even the playing field by lying on their entry form. They lie about their age, gender or country of origin and gain entry into the event. Much later they "fix the problem" by telling race administration that there must have been an error in data entry.

The athlete does the event. You find out about the lie later. Do you inform the race director? The race director still gets the entry fee money, so no harm, no foul, right?

Situation 5: Getting Caught Taking Advantage of Weaker Competition

A cyclist no longer feels fit enough to race in their current USA Cycling or ACA Cycling category. Though they accumulated the performance results to remain at that level or be upgraded, they no longer feel that they can be a podium presence in that category. The rider petitions the organization to be downgraded.

The category downgrade is denied.

The rider enters a regional event under an assumed name in their category of choice. They race well in their cherry-picked category, earn prize money for primes and land on the podium. Other savvy racers recognize the lie and turn the liar in to authorities. The liar writes a letter of apology to a few select club members and states that they attempted to correct the problem "the right way" first, and when their request was denied they took the proper action to look out for their own best needs.

Were the racer's actions illegal, unethical or immoral? Should club members forgive and forget? Further, should select club members be sworn to secrecy? If someone reveals the incident on a message board or blog page, should the thread be removed? Should these things not be discussed in public? Should the sanctioning organization forgive and forget?

The Situations

The situations described in the column do not describe any particular individual or event. Portions of all the situations have been described to me by various sources over several years and I took the editorial liberty of filling in details to create the fictional scenes.

Though these are not actual events, per se, perhaps you know of a situation similar to one of those described here?


Would you be surprised to hear that people, maybe someone you know, do things similar to the situations described here? Do you wonder why people would do these things? What, if anything, should be done about these "low-level" liars, cheaters and thieves in our sport and recreation systems?

"Why?" is a great question. Part II reveals comments from sports psychologists, a professor of philosophy, a lawyer and include research data.

Gale Bernhardt was the USA Triathlon team coach at the 2003 Pan American Games and 2004 Athens Olympics. Her first Olympic experience was as a personal cycling coach at the 2000 Games in Sydney. She currently serves as one of the World Cup coaches for the International Triathlon Union's Sport Development Team. Thousands of athletes have had successful training and racing experiences using Gale's pre-built, easy-to-follow cycling and triathlon training plans. Let Gale and Active Trainer help you succeed.

Read Part II of Liars, Cheaters and Thieves in Your Sport

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