5 Professional Athletes Who Fell From Grace

From high school to university, there are thousands of budding athletes aspiring to reach the top of their game. Most of them wish to follow in the footsteps of their favorite sports stars and become professional athletes.

However, there’s more to the world of sports than awards, medals, and fame. In fact, there are many successful sportsmen and women who have ruined their careers through bad life choices. 


In this article, we will introduce you to 5 world-leading professional athletes who fell from grace for one reason or another.

5 Professional Athletes Who Fell From Grace

Lance Armstrong

If you have even the slightest knowledge about road cycling (the sport), then you would have heard of Lance Armstrong. This former champion was arguably the most famous cyclist in the world before things started to go wrong.

In 2012, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) made serious allegations over the use of PRDs against Armstrong. In fact, he was referred to as the leading anchor of the most professionalized doping program in the world of professional cycling. 

In what went on to be seen as an unprecedented and exemplary penalty, Armstrong was ripped of all his professional achievements and was banned from competing for the rest of his life.

Oscar Pistorius

South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius was arguably the most celebrated para-athlete of all time. His story itself is a fascinating one.

Oscar’s feet were amputated when he was just a year old. However, he had the ambition to become an athlete and dared to realize it.

Just a year after enjoying the attention and appreciation around the world for his performance in the 2012 Olympics, his life and career took a massive hit. 

He was found guilty of murdering his partner Reeva Steenkamp and was sentenced to 13 years in jail. 

Diego Maradona

Maradona was arguably the God of football. He is one of the greatest football players of all time and was even recognized as the Player of the Century by FIFA. 

However, he could not handle the enormous amount of money that he made as a star football player. In 2009, Maradona was declared bankrupt and was asked to pay $54 million to the Italian Tax Authority. 

Interestingly, he could never pay his debt back and led a life of poverty instead.

Tonya Harding

Tonya Harding was once a very promising championship-level skater. However, when she was rising up the ranks in the sport of figure skating, something shocking happened which led her career to decline before it could take off. 

Harding’s rival, Nancy Kerrigan, was attacked by a man hired by her ex-husband. 

She went on to admit having covered up the attack and was banned for life by the U.S. Figure Skating Association.

Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson used to be a huge name in the field of boxing. He was considered to be the best boxer of all time and remains an inspiration to many today. 

At one point, he was the most respected athlete in America but his career soon met a tragic course.  

In the middle of his reigning boxing career, Tyson found himself at the center of a vicious scandal that ruined his life and career prospects.

In July 1991, he was arrested for the alleged rape of Desiree Washington. He was sent to serve 3 years in jail which entirely jeopardized his career. 

5 Professional Athletes Who Fell From Grace


While many professional athletes receive big money and plenty of fame, this role also comes with a lot of challenges.

The life stories of these professional athletes who fell from grace is a testimony to this fact.


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