The Greatest Paralympic Scandal of All Time
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The Greatest Paralympic Scandal of All Time

November 16, 2019


So it’s the 2000 Summer Paralympics in Sydney. We’re in the final moments of the men’s intellectual disability basketball finals and Spain is up by 24. They’ve been killing it all week, and they’re about to finish off Russia and jump to third in the medal table behind the United States and Britain. The entire country is, needless to say, thrilled. And why wouldn’t they be? Unlike the cutthroat Olympics, the Paralympic Games are probably the most beloved sporting event in the whole world. It’s a celebration of triumph over hardship, the wonder of the human spirit. It’s one of the few times where athletes are all pulling for each other and there are no real losers. But, winning is just a bit sweeter, and Spain’s making it look easy on the hardwood. The last few seconds tick away and the team comes out on top. Journalists are writing copies about all the adversity these twelve young men have overcome to climb atop the podium and receive their much deserved gold medals. They’re soon to be national treasures, a testament to guts, grit, courage, and hard work. If they could accomplish their dreams, What’s stopping you? And as the national anthem plays and the crowd applauds, the moment seems picture-perfect? But little did the world know…. It was a lie. All of it was a lie. Doping remains a notorious issue for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, but especially for the latter. It’s easy to see why. Due to the very nature of the event many of the participants are on performance-enhancing drugs to treat physical disabilities. So policing drug abuse during the games has always been a challenge. A common form of doping is boosting, by which athletes with a spinal cord injury induce Autonomic Dysreflexia, and spike their blood pressure for increased performance. This practice was banned by the International Paralympic Committee in 1994, but it’s still an ongoing problem in the sport. To combat the issue in 2000, the Sydney Games established a doping control program and for the first time, Paralympic athletes were asked to participate in out-of-competition drug testing. This was a good step to take, it meant that the testing window is much wider and any competitor could be called for a test at any point throughout the games. And it worked! 14 athletes tested positive, it practically saved the powerlifting competition from becoming a total farce. But suppose a potential cheater was operating with a different premise. See if the doping control program was designed to police participants from using drugs to gain an unfair physical advantage. But what if an athlete desired instead to be disadvantaged? What if say a non-disabled person pretended to be disabled to compete. How would you police that? But, I mean, come on. Why would you need to police that, who would be so morally repugnant to try it? This is Fernando Martinez Vicente. At the time of the Sydney games, he was the president of the Spanish Federation of Sports People with Intellectual Disabilities, and by the time our story concludes, he will be found guilty of fraud and forgery. Here’s a recent photo of him shaking hands with the Pope. I’m not gonna act like I know this man’s character, it’s been almost two decades since the event we’re talking about, and a lot can change in that time. I do know that when you’re the head of an organization like FEDDI, there’s constant pressure to get a hold of government grants. It’s a surefire way to keep the lights on and often the only option to accomplish your institutions agenda. But grants don’t come easy. There’s a lot of organizations seeking them and only so much money to go around. So priority goes to associations that have a track record of success and at that point the only thing on your mind is win medals. Because the more medals you win, the more incentive the government has to extend grant money in your direction. So why not, just for one year enter a team that’s almost guaranteed to win. Yeah, but… how do you do that? Well, what if your team wasn’t actually disabled. How much easier could it be to come in first and again, you’re only doing it the one time. just win a gold medal and the incentives for grants is guaranteed. Your organization will stay afloat for the foreseeable future, you’ll employ plenty of people, and in doing so, your association can continue to assist those who are mentally disabled for maybe decades to come. It’s a classic case of trying to justify shady behavior in the name of the greater good. So FEDDI set out to build a super team…. and build it they did. All that was necessary was to recruit some fairly competitive basketball players who were willing to keep their mouths shut about the scam and things were set. I mean they really only needed to hire, like, two or three players tops to pull something like this off, right? I guess five if you wanted to stack your side of the court during play, but Spain took it even further. They recruited ten. Ten. Ten players out of the 12-man roster were not actually disabled. If you’re like me, the only thing on your mind is how? How did they pull this off, how did nobody notice this? It’s a fair question to ask. See in order to qualify as a participant in the Intellectual Disability Basketball Event, a prospective player is required to complete a litany of mental tests to determine their eligibility. the competitor must be determined to have an IQ of no more than 75, so these ten guys had to purposely fail a series of Intelligence tests and make it look authentic. Naturally, I decided to test this myself. What if I was one of the ten, could I fake my way through an IQ test into the category of mental disability? I mean how hard could it be? But there was a challenge I mean, I needed to score low enough to qualify for the event but also high enough so as to not attract any suspicion from hypothetical outside auditors I figured 55 was a good target to aim for. So a bit about the IQ test It measures several factors of intelligence like logical reasoning, math skills, language abilities, spatial relations skills, knowledge Retained, and the ability to solve novel problems. Though it’s always had some controversy associated with it. It’s still fairly Good way of judging a person’s level of intelligence. IQ is also fluid it changes with age and in that respect I was a little nervous I mean, I hadn’t taken a math test in almost a decade But I’m trying to fail right? So, no worries The challenge wasn’t gonna be so much scoring under 75 but scoring over 55 It is Incredibly hard to judge that kind of thing you go into the test blind and there’s no real way of gauging your progress as you Take it so I think that trick to this is like gonna be to answer in a way That’s close to right but not quite correct Does that make sense to women start at the same point? They walk into opposite directions for three meters then turn right and walk another four meters. How far apart are they? Some Gumble Stein’s ARPA janitors and Alton janitors our herbal sins are some cobble Stein’s definitely Kerbal since It’s too early for this okay Add the even numbers in this list 2 4 6 11 18 37 38 is the sum an even number or an odd number? well After about 40 minutes of deliberation your boy walked away with an IQ score of 25 I’d have undershot that a bit so pure I guess technically I wouldn’t have had any problems qualifying But I don’t know if such a score would have a laid suspicion either another point I should probably make note of here in the research for this video I read Conflicting reports as to how expensive the testing was for each player on Spain’s team some claim to have never been tested at all Some alleged that they purposely scored low on tests issued and other reports I read stated that all medical forms were forged from an outside source and delivered to officials without any players being made aware at all But whichever way you take at the end result was the same they all managed to slip in with no issues not every crazy story needs crazy twists And this one’s got a doozy if this whole thing was a Hollywood movie the main character would undoubtedly be this guy Carlos at rib Agora C-man was one of the ten recruited players that was in on the scam and during the games he helped propel Spain to victory but a few weeks after the closing ceremony he sent his medal back to Paralympic headquarters as well as his team kit and the 150 pounds that each Spanish athlete was given for the Sydney trip was it a sudden change of heart had his conscience Finally gotten the best of him don’t count on it the truth Carlos riba Gorda was an undercover investigative journalist And he was blowing the whistle on the whole operation so details are a little fuzzy about all of this But here’s what we do know after two years of work to Successfully infiltrate the ring, C-man was called up five months before the Sydney games and asked to participate There were five months of training with not a single Disabled person in sight the two genuinely disabled players came from outside Madrid in all that time the only medical test He was ever subjected to six push-ups, then a blood pressure check 110 over 78 So they hit the floor in Sydney and during their first match the team played so well against their disabled opponents that they were up 30 points by halftime at that point their coach told them to slow down and let the other team shoot more saying allegedly let’s move down the gear or they’ll figure out you’re not disabled so they moved down a gear and It made no difference when you’ve stacked the deck so deeply and so well How could it the entire week they cut down team after team after team and suddenly we’re back to the medal ceremony As the anthem plays as with every event in the Paralympics reporters begin to snap photos Of the champions and soon those photos are sent to newspapers all over Spain They’re the nation’s Paralympic champions after all but funny thing about photos They tend to get seen when the teams picture appeared on the front page of a popular Madrid sports daily It didn’t take too long for players and coaches in that photo To get recognized in an online article the comments section began to be filled with people claiming to know this guy or that guy, how they weren’t disabled at all and the whole scheme began to slowly, but surely, unravel. Officials caught wind of the brewing storm and advised the players to wear sunglasses hats and grow beards So they wouldn’t be recognized when the team arrived back home after the plane touched down C-man got off the flight and blew the whistle by publishing one of the most bizarre exclusives of all time and two weeks later the team was officially Disqualified and ordered to return the gold medals the fallout was so bad that the IPC announced They would officially suspend all the events that involved intellectual disabilities all of them due to serious difficulties in determining the eligibility of athletes that suspension would not be lifted until 2009 in 2013 after a decade of Investigation in court battles Fernando Martinez sente was found guilty of fraud and forgery. He was fined 5,400 euros a lot of folks would call it a slap on the wrist but to be fair He was also ordered to return the hundred and fifty thousand euros that he received from Sponsorships due to the team’s victory as for those 10 fake disabled Paralympians when all was said and done They walked away with no charges This is the point in the video where I’m supposed to come up with some kind of moral to wax poetic About how crime doesn’t pay and cheaters never prosper? But I can’t because that’s not true The world has plenty of athletes who will gladly bend and break the rules to get a bigger paycheck Many of them prosper far beyond what the straight shooters ever will it’ll always be like that So I guess the only thing we can really take away from this the greatest Paralympic scandal of all time is cheaters may prosper But they won’t be happy in a later interview C-man said this about the team’s attitude during the medal ceremony the whole thing was a farce really we stood there and listened But it was a false medal. It was a false national anthem Nobody really wanted to talk about it afterwards See, that’s the saddest thing about all this to me winning wasn’t enjoyable for the team because the team’s victory was a lie a gold Medal shines brightest when it’s won fairly and honorably It’s not nearly as satisfying To win when there really was no challenge in the first place, right? And it’s not just that they won by dishonest means It’s that they stole the medals from other teams that actually were battling these hard mental disabilities They robbed those Paralympians of the opportunity to grab a moment of victory a moment that many of them sorely needed Cheat and get away with it and every prize you receive will feel hollow and meaningless Oh and sheet and get caught and be prepared to have that stuff stick to you for the rest of your life Even Carlos riba Gorda the hero of the story will have his name forever connected to the events at Sydney He was the good guy How much worse do you think it is to be one of the other nine or the guy labelled as the? Mastermind of the whole operation in the end was this was all of this really worth it in The heat of the moment it might have seemed so but at the last What were they left with? So yeah stay in school kids Hey, thanks for watching if you liked the video then share it And if you want to see more content like that then subscribe to the channel or if you don’t then don’t I don’t really care Captions By
An Army Of Sentient Potatoes

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  1. I know what the dude did was horrible because it's rude and disrespectful. But, I sympathize with the idea that the group needed funding. Especially in years before, advocating for PWDs wasnt a big thing. Funding must've been thin and they could've been just having enough funding to just not collapse. And that may not exactly be helping their clients with ID.
    And if that guy did actually do all of this, sacrifice it all with the mindset that he needed to do everything he could in his power to actually make sure that the persons with ID under his care could get better help or facilities or etc, then he isnt really a bad guy.
    Yes sure he did take that opportunity from other persons with disabilities but its not like he's taking them for himself. If you think about it, why dedicate such effort for a community you care not for? He was president after all, he didnt do that just to get money esp since funding IS low.

    Just a thought.

  2. I'm from Sydney, Australia. I think that lady at 0:19 was my Spanish teacher in high school in years 7 and 8. I know the youtube algorithm is trying to tell me something.

  3. LOLOL im glad I have no desire to win silly games constructed by other people. Spain "We need some retarded-looking norms to play basketball and win a silly tournament" I suppose there is a lot of money in it lol.
    And is actors playing the role of retards any better? If I were an actor i'd only play disableds

  4. 6:35
    They both turn right and walk in the same direction ? That would be 6 meters.
    Or do they turn right and walk in opposite directions ? That would be 10 meters
    Are they walking on threadmills ? That would be 0 meters

    Might lose some IQ points on this

  5. Even the moral doesn't hold up I'm afraid, I remember the chinese cheating like mad during the olympics and they seemed pretty happy about their wins even with cheating. If i recall there's even a chinese mentality that winning at all costs with unfair advantages is acceptable (part of why chinese outspend everyone in mobile games that have competitive elements, pay 2 win is acceptable for them.)

  6. Even actors get into this sort of thing, like Jussie in Chicago did by staging a fake race crime in the hopes of increased pay. Instead, he's now "that guy".

  7. My IQ is like 50 or 60 maybe lower, but I try to work hard all the time no matter how slow I feel and I able to tell the difference.

  8. I feel like there should be a, "Non-math" version of IQ tests. There's too many varieties of it. Being good at math is a skill, not pertaining to intelligence as people make it out to be. Just like calculators, I feel GPS and auto-correct will eventually phase out cartography and spelling. There should be a common sense IQ test because common sense isn't so common.

  9. they should have let the actual disabled people keep their medal. imagine the shock for them when they win and then suddenly you get your medal taken off you for your cheating team.

  10. idk man, I'd say the saddest thing about this is how they robbed innumerable intellectually disabled paralympic athletes of the opportunity to train, compete, and win with pride, all the way up to 2009. Not the fact that the fake team couldn't enjoy their stolen win. they took something huge away from people who already had the cards stacked against them, and for what?

  11. as someone with an actual spinal cord injury, stuff like this REALLY pisses me off. Like, to the point I may wish harm on you. Normally a disability like mine, even as mild as it is compared to some disabilities, is not something I would wish on my worst enemy… but stuff like this is the exception that proves the rule

  12. yep, they were not disabled, kinda like how amanda baggs the lady who faked being autistic went on tv boasting about how great itios to be autistic, shes not disabled she is a major munchie,…. though the difference here is these guys faked it for monetary gain / winnng at sports… not for attenton seeking alone like amanda baggs did

  13. Is the interview at the end real? Being latin myself and having taken classes, as well as knowing others who have lived in USA half their lives, I've never heard someone so fluent with such a perfect accent, even when people are fluent their accent is never that good if they haven't even lived there.
    Funny that i would doubt the legitimacy of something like that in this particular video, the irony. It's just you never even hear actors having that good an accent.

  14. I know this comment already exists somewhere within the 7K responses below, but still…
    "Nevah go full fake retahd!"
    ~Kirk Lazarus

  15. I get that the guy wanted his story, but he HAD the story before he helped ruin the event for all the other countries AND their athletes. I fault him just as much for letting it happen so he could have that part of his story.

  16. 6:39 The answer is 10 meters, if you're wondering. I think the tricky part about that question is to realize that right isn't the same direction for both people, since they're facing opposite each other.

  17. “No one will fake being transgender to go in women’s bathrooms” “men won’t fake being transgender to win in women’s competitions”

  18. 2000. Not 1980 during the height of get-all-you-can'ism. Not 1950 when you could probably legally punch disabled people for being 'gimps'. Nah, 2000. Smooth by Santana was playing on the radio while these guys dabbed on disabled people… on a government level. It's one thing to lie for selfish reasons. It's a-whole-nother level of evil to scam someone using a business, government or organization. Entire groups of people, working together, to accomplish… evil. Disgusting.

  19. Gee, was the greatest paralympic scandal of all time that they weren't disabled? I guess I'll have to watch to find out

  20. Is it just me or in the credits of this video is the dude losing his damn mind over a ride at some carnival? At 13:16 his hands are on his head and he’s thinking “Holy fuck do you see this shit?!”

    Actually on second glance dude definitely just broke up with that spinning carnival machine. “Damn, how could you Tilt-N-Whirl, you were my only love.”

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