Spanish team after victory
Such pictures of their victory which surfaced on the internet were vital in exposing their scam!!!

One of the greatest “Caught cheating” moments was this one back in 2000. The stage was the Sydney 2000 Paralympics and the accused in this case was the Spanish basketball team. A team of 10 out of 12 delusionary mentally handicapped individuals. So, what exactly happened, why was it done and who was behind all of this? Here’s a report of how the events took place: – 

What exactly happened? 

All of this took place at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Spain had sent its 12 men team to the “Mentally Handicapped Basketball” event. But of the 10 men weren’t handicapped!! A complete moral and legal infringement, right? Spain began their campaign against Portugal on a sweet note with a 73-58 victory. During the game Spaniards were initially dominating but as reported their coach asked them to “Slow Down” to make the game look more authentic. Then next up was Brazil, 94-48. Next in was Japan, 87-20!! Beating an international team by a margin of 60+ points, something fishy was already witnessed but the management decided to ignore it!! 

A very well summarized documentary has been published on YT on this scandal, for more in-depth info you may check that too!!

So, how did the team managed to get in the tournament? The “Mentally Handicapped” category basically means that they must have an IQ lower than 75. On basis of a series of tests of logical reasoning, language skills, mathematics, and basic operations the IQ is determined. To manipulate the test results by writing it is difficult. But here was a twist, the reports were handed over to them without testing as claimed by many dailies!!  

Why was the heist done? 

Back in the day, the Spanish Federation for Mentally Handicapped sports was struggling, as in financially. So, in order to catch the government’s eye and to bring in some form of the grant this heist was pulled off!! The association President was Fernando Martin Vicente. He is said to be the mastermind behind this. The expected outcome of this pinch-off was a hefty cash prize to the management and a big grant to the organization. This means that for monetary benefits, this corruption was initiated.  

How did the people notice? 

The person whose brainchild, this scam was, Fernando Martin Vincente!!!!

Once the Spanish team won and the podium photos circulated all over, people began recognizing the individuals. The community went off online platforms and started mass commenting on pictures. Also, one of the players Carlos Ribagardo had an intellectual awakening and wrote a letter to the Paralympic Association and also returned his medal and certificate! This was one major step in legal actions against this theft.  

What was the final outcome? 

Fernando Vincente was convicted in 2013 and was asked to pay a fine of 2500 Euros to the Paralympic association and was also asked to repay the grants he received after the victory. He didn’t get any jail time. The players escaped without having their names in the books of the legal authorities!!  

Youtube video link