The United States has had its fair share of disgraced Olympic athletes. Over the past 25 years, performance-enhancing drugs have been the dominant theme, although there have been other sorts of illegal activity in some cases.
Fans preferring to remember U.S. medalists at their moments of glory, instead of ignominy, might want to look away. It's hard to ignore the fact that some of the greatest accomplishments have been damaged beyond repair.
Butch Reynolds, a 400-meter runner and former world-record holder in the event, represented the United States at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. Reynolds won gold in the 4x400m relay and silver in the individual race.
In 1990, Reynolds was given a two-year suspension by the IAAF for alleged illegal drug use, prompting the beginning of a long legal fight.
However, Lewis also used performance-enhancing drugs. This information came out after his career had ended and Lewis wasn't forced to return his medals.
Still, Lewis' career will always be surrounded by the stigma of performance-enhancing drugs.
Lewis also performed an absolutely disgraceful rendition of the national anthem.
Paul Hamm represented the United States in three consecutive Olympics beginning with the 2000 Sydney Games. A terrific gymnast, Hamm won three medals for the United States, including gold for the all-around competition in 2004.
In 2011, Hamm had a run-in with the law, arrested for assaulting a cab driver after refusing to pay his fare. After his arrest, Hamm also threatened police officers, and he was fired from his job on the coaching staff at Ohio State following the incident.
Alvin Harrison is a former American track athlete who competed in the 400 meters for the United States. A member of two 4x400m relay teams, Harrison won gold in 1996 as well as 2000. Harrison also won a silver medal in the 400 meters at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.
Due to circumstantial evidence regarding his use of a banned substance, Harrison didn't participate in the 2004 Summer Olympics, and after the Olympics he agreed to a four-year ban for doping.
A former middle-distance runner, Regina Jacobs represented the United States in three consecutive Summer Olympics beginning in 1988 in Seoul, South Korea.
However, Jacobs' career ended in disgrace after she tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003. Jacobs received a four-year ban, resulting in the end of her career.
C.J. Hunter is a former shot-putter who competed in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Ga, finishing seventh. Prior to the 2000 Summer Olympics, Hunter tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, and was forced to withdraw from the competition.
Following his positive test, Hunter was implicated in the BALCO case and testified against his ex-wife Marion Jones.
Pettigrew is on far left
Antonio Pettigrew, a former track athlete, was a member of the 4x400m relay team that won gold at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
Pettigrew (at left in the photo) was stripped of his medal after he testified that he utilized performance-enhancing drugs during the BALCO case. Pettigrew died in 2010.
Justin Gatlin won three medals at the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, Greece: a gold in the 100m, a bronze in the 200m and a silver in the 4x100m relay. He also tied the world record for the 100m dash at a meet in 2006.
Following the meet, Gatlin failed a drug test, and he was given a four-year ban from competing, avoiding a lifetime ban by cooperating. He's now hoping to make the 2012 Olympic team.
Tim Montgomery won two Olympic medals as a member of the 4x100m relay team, a gold in Sydney and a silver in Atlanta. Additionally, he set the world record for the 100 meter dash at a meet in September of 2002.
However, Montgomery would have his medals and world record stripped after his involvement in the BALCO scandal, and his admission to utilizing performance enhancing drugs.
Following his retirement from track and field, Montgomery got involved with a check fraud and money laundering scheme, as well as dealing heroin. Montgomery is currently spending five years in prison.
Marion Jones was the darling of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. She finished with three golds and two bronzes, a feat that had never been done before.
However, Jones was stripped of her medals after she admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs. Jones also spent time in prison for committing perjury during the BALCO case and an investigation into her role in a check fraud and money laundering ring.