Revisiting certain events from the sporting world could result in you stumbling down a rabbit hole of sports conspiracy theories that could be true.
“Everything is pro wrestling” is an adage people use when explaining an event that lacks legitimacy. We all know professional wrestling has pre-determined outcomes, yet fans suspend their beliefs and enjoy the show. And maybe that’s what the folks behind the sports conspiracy theories that could be truewere also hoping for.
Michael Phelps’ Gold Rush
There weren’t many bigger names in 2008 than Michael Phelps. The swimmer took the country by storm when he won multiple golds at the Beijing Summer Olympics. Phelps’ end game was to break the record set by fellow American Mark Spitz for most gold medals during a single Olympics.
Everyone knew that the 100m butterfly would be his most challenging race since it was his weakest stroke, and anything can happen during a 100m race. But Phelps defeated Milorad Cavic by a hair. From the instant replay, it appeared Cavic got to his side faster, but Phelps emerged victorious. Many theorists proclaim that the higher-ups rigged Phelps’ platform to be extra sensitive, considering he was the media darling.
Robbery of the U.S. Men’s Basketball Team
Before the U.S. Olympic basketball team was crushing teams by double-digits in the Olympics, they had to fight and claw their way to reach the podium. During the 1972 Munich games, basketball may have been the furthest thing from people’s minds, so the swindling of the U.S. team is easily forgettable.
The squad lost 51-50 to Russia after a controversial out-of-bounds decision not only gave the ball back to Russia but added additional time to the clock, allowing them to score the game-winning basket. The U.S appealed the results and lost when three of the five members, who had ties to the Communist Bloc, voted against them.
Riggs Takes It Easy in the “Battle of the Sexes” Match
The “Battle of the Sexes” showdown between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs was an exhibition to determine if the world’s best women’s tennis player could take it to an average male player. Riggs wasn’t a stranger to gambling debts and was the favorite to defeat King, but Billie Jean wiped the floor with him.
Because of Riggs’ money troubles, it seemed apparent that Riggs lost the match on purpose. He did trounce the number one female player, Margaret Court, to prepare for his match against King beforehand, so it is suspicious. Regardless of if it was authentic or not, its cultural impact on athletics is what truly matters.
Michael Jordan’s Flu Game
Michael Jordan is no stranger to wild conspiracy theories directed at him, particularly involving his two-year sabbatical. But there’s no secret suspension talk involved his Jordan’s infamous “flu game.” Did MJ have the flu when he dropped 35 points on the Utah Jazz in Game 5 of the NBA Finals? And if it wasn’t the flu, what was it?
Jordan’s trainer blames the pizza they ordered the previous night, claiming that the Jazz faithful tampered with it. Food poisoning and the flu are virtually identical, so the official diagnosis doesn’t matter.
Looking back at the sports conspiracy theories that could be trueis entertaining to ponder under the proper context. These may be fiction, but who doesn’t love some controversy?