Skip To Content
  • Viral badge
  • Tokyo Olympics badge

Here Are 14 Olympians Who Lost Their Medals, And The Reasons Are Sure To Shock You Right Off The Podium

Ways you can get kicked out of the Olympics: be too young, have someone spike your food, and use someone else's blood.

It's not uncommon for Olympic athletes to get their medals taken away as soon as they get them or even years after they've competed. Here are Olympians whose wins turned into losses real quick:

1. 2012: Nadezhda Ostapchuk, Belarus

Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

Nadezhda Ostapchuk is a shotputter from Belarus who competed in the 2012 London Summer Olympics. Apparently, her coach admitted to spiking her food with a banned substance because he thought it wouldn't be in her system by the time of her drug tests. She won a gold medal but failed her drug test, resulting in her being disqualified from the Games, receiving a one-year ban, and her medals being stripped from both the 2012 and 2008 Games.

2. 2008: Ara Abrahamian, Sweden

Ara Abrahamian putting his medal down on the wrestling mat
Peter Parks / AFP / Getty Images

Ara Abrahamian is an Armenian Swedish wrestler who competed in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. After disputing the judge's ruling during a semi-final match, he won a bronze medal but took it off during the ceremony, placed it on the mat, and left. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) then stripped him of the medal and banned him for life. 

3. 2004: Tyler Hamilton, USA

Tyler Hamilton holding his gold medal at the 2004 olympics
Doug Pensinger / Getty Images

Tyler Hamilton is a former American road bicycle racer who competed in the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics. He won a gold medal, but a drug test found someone else's blood in his bloodstream, a form of blood doping. He later went on to confess to various forms of doping and included former teammate, Lance Armstrong, in his confession. In 2012, the IOC ordered for the medal to be returned.

4. 2000: 4x400 Meters Men's Relay US Team

Jerome Young, Michael Johnson, Antonio Pettigrew, Angelo Taylor, Alvin Harrison, and Calvin Harrison posing with their medals on the track
David Madison / Getty Images

Jerome Young, Michael Johnson, Antonio Pettigrew, Angelo Taylor, Alvin Harrison, and Calvin Harrison competed in the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics and had their gold medals stripped away, reinstated, and stripped away again. Jerome Young committed a doping offense, so the entire team had their medals taken, but since he didn't run with the rest of the team in the finals, they got them back. But later in 2008, Antonio Pettigrew admitted to using performance-enhancers, so the entire team was disqualified...again.

5. 2000: Dong Fangxiao, China

Dong Fangxio during her gymnastics routine at the Sydney Olympics
Kazuhiro Nogi / AFP / Getty Images

Dong Fangxiao competed in the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics, where her gymnastics team won a bronze medal for China. However, it was later revealed that she was only 14 years old, which was considered underage to compete. Because of that, they were later disqualified from the games.

6. 2000: Izabela Dragneva, Bulgaria

Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

Izabela Dragneva is a retired Bulgarian weightlifter who also competed in the 2000 Summer Olympics. She won the gold medal, making her the first woman in Olympic history to win a weightlifting competition. But after she and other members of the Bulgarian weightlifting team failed their drug tests, the entire team was disqualified and suspended from competing for a year.

7. 2000: Andreea Răducan, Romania

Andreea Răducan jumping mid air in her gymnastics routine at the 2000 olympics
Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images

Andreea Răducan is a former gymnast who represented Romania at the 2000 Summer Olympics at just 16 years old. While she won the gold medal for the women's all-around competition, she tested positive for a banned substance that was found in cold medicine, which was given to her by the team's physician. Even though she was later found not guilty of doping and the physician was banned from practicing in the 2004 and 2008 Games, her medal was not reinstated.

8. 1998: Ross Rebagliati, Canada

Nathan Bilow / Getty Images

Ross Rebagliati competed in the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics and won the gold medal for Canada in the men's giant slalom event. However, he tested positive for THC so they disqualified him, despite THC not being a banned substance. Because of that, the Canadian Olympic Association ruled that the IOC had no authority to take the medal away for that reason, so they had to return the medal. But they added cannabis to the list of banned substances two months after the Games.

9. 1992: Ibragim Samadov, USSR

Ibragim Samadov is a former Chechen weightlifter who represented the Soviet Union in the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics. The gold medal match was so close that they needed two tiebreakers, but both left Samadov in third place with a bronze. At the ceremony, he dropped the medal onto the podium and left, resulting in him being disqualified from competing and receiving lifetime bans from the Olympics and the International Weightlifting Federation. 

10. 1972: Rick DeMont, USA

Rick DeMont smiling with his arm up in the pool

Rick DeMont is a former American swimmer who competed in the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics. At just 16 years old, he won the gold medal for the men's 400-meter freestyle and qualified to represent the US. However, his asthma medication, Marax, had a prohibited substance in it. While the US Olympic Committee was aware of the medication, they never cleared it with the IOC, and he was later disqualified and banned from competing in any other events. 

11. 1968: Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall, Sweden

Two pints of beer
Adermark Media / Getty Images

Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall competed in the shooting portion of the pentathlon at the 1968 Mexico Summer Olympics. Though his team won a bronze medal, he drank prior to competing, and the team was forced to give back their medals, despite alcohol not being a banned substance at the time. The 1968 Games were the first to introduce drug testing, and Liljenwall was the first to be disqualified for it.

12. 1964: Marika Kilius and Hans-Jürgen Bäumler, Germany

Marika Kilius and Hans-Jürgen Bäumler skating on ice
ullstein bild / Getty Images

Kilius and Bäumler competed in the 1964 Austria Winter Olympics as pair skaters. They went on to win the silver medal in figure skating, but because of their professional participation in the show Holiday on Ice prior to the Games, they violated IOC's amateurism rules. While they were stripped of their medals, they were later returned — but not until 1987. 

13. 1952: Ingemar Johansson, Sweden

Ingemar Johansson in a closeup pose, waist-up and he has his boxing gloves and trunks on
Bettmann / Bettmann Archive / Getty Images

Ingemar Johansson was a Swedish boxer who competed in the 1952 Helsinki Summer Olympics. He competed in the Games at 19 years old and made it all the way to the gold medal match, but he was disqualified for passivity (basically he was blocking more than he was punching) to tire out his opponent. However, his silver medal ended up being reinstated in 1982. 

14. 1912: Jim Thorpe, USA

Jim Thorpe finishing a race
Topical Press Agency / Getty Images

Jim Thorpe was a Native American athlete who competed in the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Stockholm Summer Olympics. Despite winning gold medals in both events, he played professional sports before competing, which, at the time, was against the rules. Thirty years after he died, the IOC reinstated his medals, but they still have him listed as co-winner, despite him winning first place.