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Cheaters Never Prosper

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"Cheatin' only gets ya so far."
The Sniper, Team Fortress 2

If a character or a team ever cheats in any sort of contest, they will end up coming last. In most cases, their cheating ways will explode spectacularly, and their illegal tactics often end up causing ruin for the cheater.

Even if the cheaters don't fail by their own fault, their cheating might get exposed, but their honest opponent still continues with the contest and defeats them legitimately. The message here is that while the cheaters put all their energy into cheating, the honest players spent time getting good at the game in order to come out on top without having to resort to dirty tricks.

It is extremely rare for the cheaters to win, only to be subsequently stripped of their medals after being found cheating. In almost all cases, they end up losing the race regardless, and the fact that they are then revealed as cheaters just adds insult to injury. Otherwise, where's the drama?

For an additional twist, the cheater may later play fairly and end up doing better than they did when they cheated.

Can't Get Away with Nuthin' is a more generic case, covering misbehavior in general. Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat is the special case where the cheater would have been more successful if he'd put his time and effort into honest competition instead. Disqualification-Induced Victory is a likely outcome. When a video game enforces this trope on the player, it's No Fair Cheating. Contrast Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught.

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Other Examples:

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    Anime, Manga, and Manhwa 
  • Averted in Akagi. One of the marks of Akagi's brilliance is his ability to cheat really well.
  • In All Rounder Meguru, the referees are extremely observant and ready to punish a foul. The only time the cheater isn't punished is when Mitsuya suffers a thumbing and knocks his opponent out faster than the referee can call out the foul (and yes, the referee had noticed the foul-Mitsuya was just faster at punching out his opponent).
  • In Charlotte, Yu uses his ability to transfer his soul to another person to look at their answers on the test. This catches up with him after Nao catches him in the act repeatedly. He's called in to the office and forced to take a test to prove that he'd legitimately earned his scores, and when he tries to use his ability on the proctor, he gets found out.
  • Chivalry of a Failed Knight:
    • When Ayase is scheduled to have a tournament sword fight with Ikki, she first tricks Ikki into using his Ittou Shura (a technique he can only use once a day due to Heroic RRoD) before the match, then litters the battlefield with dozens of magical traps (you're allowed to use traps, but you have to set them up during the match, not before it). Ikki actually reports her cheating before the match but persuades them to let the match continue as he wanted to prove a point. Ayase ultimately loses because her guilt dulled her reflexes and skills.
    • Ikki's abusive family repeatedly tried to sabotage his matches with tactics like imprisoning and poisoning him shortly before the matches, but he would overcome this and win anyway.
  • Demon King Daimao: In Special Episode 1, Junko and Fujiko have a swim race. When Junko pulls ahead, Fujiko blatantly cheats in front of the audience by summoning a slime monster to restrain, strip, and molest Junko, then summons a snail monster to ride it to the finish line. This backfires when the snail monster gets distracted by what is happening to Junko and moves towards her, ignoring Fujiko's commands. Once they get close enough, the slime monster grabs Fujiko and starts stripping and molesting her too.
  • Dragon Ball Super has Frost, the Universe 6 version of Frieza.
    • During the Tournament of Destroyers, he is caught having cheated against Goku and Piccolo with a poison needle. Goku is allowed back in the tournament and Frost is disqualified. However, Vegeta says there is no need to disqualify him and proceeds to defeat Frost himself, humiliating him.
    • In the Tournament of Power, he is angered that he was tricked and eliminated by Frieza and humiliated when Frieza calls him an amateur/second-rate dilettante. He tries to blast Frieza from the stands as revenge, but Zeno immediately erases him from existence for attempting to break the rules.
  • Duel Masters:
    • In their first duel, Jamira swaps his shuffled deck with a pre-arranged deck that he knows the order of so he'll always get good draws. In their second duel, he tries to hypnotize Shobu so he'll fall asleep and lose by default. Shobu beats him both times.
    • Benny Haha uses cameras to spy on the cards in Shobu's hand and predict his moves. Shobu figures it out and manages to confuse him and get an advantage, then Mimi destroys the cameras. When Shobu is about to win, Benny claims that his sister is sick and that he needs to remain undefeated so that he can pay for her treatments, but Mimi tells Shobu he is lying and he finishes him off.
  • Waver Velvet is the only Master in Fate/Zero who doesn't cheat at some point through the Fourth Holy Grail War. He doesn't win, but he makes it through the war alive and is the only one of the surviving Masters who is better off at the end of the war than he was at the start. Several of the others have their Loophole Abuse come back to hurt them pretty badly, the worst easily being Kayneth, who made his fiancée his servant's prana source so he wouldn't need to use his own, but in the process, she fell in love with said servant and made her a target, ultimately getting them both killed.
    • Arguably a larger, overarching theme across the different incarnations of the Holy Grail War. The original Einzbern ritual required seven mages working in unison to complete the Heaven's Feel. The squabbling between the seven started the Holy Grail Wars and cost everyone their chance to make their wish. To put into perspective how costly this was... the ritual could only be used once every sixty years, and it was never successfully completed in two centuries. Later on, the Einzbern attempt at cheating during the Third Holy Grail War instead tainted the rite so it could only complete any wish it granted in the most awful way possible and created a God of Evil.
    • In fact, the Third Holy Grail War went spectacularly Off the Rails because everyone cheated. Piecing together the events from other sources, the Master of Berserker (the Einzbern representative) cheated by attempting to summon a deity - which summoned the pathetic Avenger instead. The Edelfelt sisters attempted to cheat by using their Ore Scales ability to summon two incarnations of the same Saber. One left the country in humiliation, while the other stayed and married into the Tohsakas, starting the families' feud. The Master of Lancer (Darnic Prestone) attempted to steal the Greater Grail with Nazi help, starting full-on open shootouts between Nazi and Imperial forces in Fuyuki. The Master of Assassin was an American spy scoping the ritual for duplication. And considering one of the remaining three Masters was Zouken Matou...
    • Likewise, in the Great Holy Grail War, both the masterminds working for the Grail bend or outright break the rules in an effort to stack the deck in favor of their own faction... and again, neither gets the Grail.
  • In Food Wars!, during a cooking contest, two guys waste so much time trying to sabotage Soma and Megumi that they don't pay attention to their own dish and burn it. In their panic, they also accidentally spill a lot of salt into it, making it utterly unpalatable.
    • During the final arc, Noir chef Don Calma decides to have Takumi's brother Isami kidnapped so he can't come to his aid during a team cooking duel. What he did not anticipate was that Soma would come to help Takumi, let alone that the two would have such effective team work despite being rivals.
  • In Future GPX Cyber Formula SAGA, the Aoi team gets disqualified from CF for one year after they cheated in the Japan Grand Prix by doping (also happened in other races), kidnapping Hayato the night before the race and trying to kill him by Nagumo taking control of Al-zard computer system in the race.
  • In Girls und Panzer, Alice's attempt to cheat by intercepting Oarai's radio communications during their match backfires when Oarai uses the tactic to lead her into a trap, and when her commander Kay, upon finding out, decides to attack with only half her forces to keep things fair.
  • In the 1st Stage of Initial D, Takumi races against Shingo Shoji of the Myogi Night Kids in a "duct-tape deathmatch" to limit their drifting. When Takumi manages to get the hang and overtakes him, Shingo gets enraged and tries to nudge his car to make him lose control. The race ends when Shingo, trying not to embarrass himself, tries to double-crash their cars so the race ends in a tie, but Takumi evades him and Shingo crashes against the guard rail, not even finishing the race himself.
  • In Isekai Quartet, Ainz tries to use Time Stop to cheat on a test. However, before he can even attempt to do anything, he finds that Aqua, Tanya and Subaru are all immune, leaving him unable to do anything. Aqua attempts to cheat herself (among other mischief) and is caught standing when Ainz cancels the spell, leading to her being punished. Tanya and Subaru, who didn't exploit the Time Stop, manage to return to their seats in time and avoid punishment, while Ainz finds another way to pass the test.
  • If there is a competition between the Student Council in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, Fujiwara will usually cheat to win only for someone to find out, and then Ishigami scolds her for cheating. Chapter 117 has Ishigami even recording her because he knows she'll cheat.
  • In Minami-ke, Kana challenges Fujioka to see who can get better grades. Despite repeatedly cheating and rewriting her scores, she still always falls behind by a few points.
  • Averted in Monster; Tenma and Gillen come in second and first in their class, respectively, after cheating on a major test.
  • Naruto:
    • Inverted in the original Naruto. The first portion of the Chuunin Exam is a written test far too difficult for the level of the examinees, who are expelled with their teammates if caught cheating too many times. These details are clues to the true nature of the test: The examinees are supposed to cheat, but not actually get caught, as what's actually being tested is the ninjas' ability to gain information. Ibiki is somewhat amused that Naruto himself passed without even answering any questions.
    • Played straight in Boruto: Naruto the Movie. In an attempt to finally be noticed by his father, Boruto cheats in the Chunin Exam. He's briefly expelled as a ninja when he's caught.
  • Chapter 182 of Nichijou features everybody except Yuuko falling asleep in class during a test. Yuuko nabs this opportunity to start copying answers off everyone else's worksheets. Yuuko is just Genre Savvy enough to realize that copying from just one worksheet could expose her due to identical answers. So she copies a different answer from each person in class. Such is Yuuko's luck that every individual answer she copies is incorrect, resulting in a score of zero.
  • Taken to a beautiful extreme by Ninja Nonsense, which has Onsokumaru attempting to cheat at baseball by causing the ball to multiply itself. It backfires in a spectacular fashion when Miyabi summons a bunch of floating hands to catch every ball, getting Onsokumaru out 108 times, winning the next four games by default in the process.
  • Zigazzed in No Game No Life; most enemies attempt to cheat Shiro and Sora. They usually lose because Shiro and Sora can cheat a lot better. On the other hand, the siblings never cheat if their enemies don't cheat either and Jibril doesn't cheat ever, no discussion. That said, attempting to cheat Jibril equals a suicide declaration.
  • During the Davy Back Fight in One Piece, the Foxy Pirates use several tricks to tip the odds in their favor against the Straw Hats. Naturally, the Straw Hats Beat Them at Their Own Game.
  • Team Rocket in Pokémon: The Series:
    • "The Flame Pokémon-athon" features a race in which one of the competitors, Dario, conspires with Team Rocket to knock his rivals out of the race, especially having injured his lifelong rival, Lara Laramie, the owner of the Ponyta Ash had to ride, replacing her in the race. He still loses when Ponyta evolves into Rapidash and wins the race. Dario, furious at his loss (even having the nerve to call Ash the cheater), orders Dodrio to attack Rapidash, only to be kicked off flying into the sky by Rapidash.
    • In "Off The Unbeaten Path", there is a Pokemon competition that both Jessie and James enter separately. Jessie cheats while James is determined to play fair. As is typical of this trope, Jessie loses while James is actually the winner, which goes to show that even someone from Team Rocket can win if he doesn't act like a criminal.
    • Zigzagged and Reconstructed in "A Dancing Debut", where Jessie tries to cheat by getting early details about the Appeal round of the episode's Showcase. When she misreads it and it gives her no lead whatsoever, her team just resort to legitimate methods and win anyway.
    • Also played with in the Sinnoh contests, which were the starting point for Jessie winning coordinator events. Jessie at first assumed this was because James and Meowth had rigged the stage in some way, but they later admit they were out of ideas and had lied, shocking Jessie by making her realise she had won solely through competence.
    • Actually a pretty consistent theme in the show. Compare how well Team Rocket tends to do when they play by the rules rather than cheat.
    • They're often shown to actually be competent in battles and competition and have just as close if not closer contests with their Pokemon as Ash and his friends. They're just not very evil.
    • A non-Team Rocket example. Faba was pitted against Ash in the Alola League and decided to cheat by having his Hypno use Psychic to pull Meltan into battle. Unfortunately, he didn't take into account that Meltan eats metal, nor that Hypno's pendulum happens to be made of metal. He suffers a Curb-Stomp Battle when Meltan eats the pendulum, crippling Hypno. This ends up giving Ash his easiest victory in any League ever.
  • Slam Dunk: In their first match in the Nationals, Shohoku has to face Toyotama, whose players specialize in aggressive moves, often committing fouls and seeking to deliberately injure the opposing players, or trash-talking them to rile them up. Toyotama's star player, Tsuyoshi Minami, gives Rukawa an elbow that leaves him with a black eye for the rest of the game (and he'd done something similar to Fujima of Shoyo the previous year, which earned him the nickname "Ace Killer"), and when that doesn't stop Rukawa, Minami gets desperate and tries to jump on Rukawa to knee him in the face and leave him out for good. However, Rukawa anticipates and shields his face, and Minami falls and getting himself a head injury, and his team ultimately loses to Shohoku.
  • Zig-zagged in Smile PreCure!. Episode 29 has the villains forcing the Cures to play games with them. They're not playing fair one bit though by having Akanbes holding up the girls. So the Cures decide to cheat as well and they win every single challenge. The funny thing is that while the bad guys are just using cheap tricks, the Cures have no problem using their powers to harm them (like Happy blasting the Akanbe-moles and repeatedly whack them with a hammer, Peace electrocuting the Akanbe-pins or Beauty freezing Wolfrun and a shark-like Akanbe).
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero: The words Malty Melromarc and fair play do not go hand in hand. The evil Princess uses others to fight her battles for her, or utilises lies and dirty underhanded tactics to try and get what she wants. The two best examples for this trope however, occurred in Volumes 1 and 2 of the light novels/Episodes 4 and 5 of the anime.
    • In the former, Malty deliberately goaded Motoyasu into fighting Naofumi, for custody of the Shield Hero's companion, the demi-human Raphtalia. When Naofumi started to win, Malty illegally intervened causing the Shield Hero to be falsely declared the loser. Unfortunately for Malty, Raphtalia not only thoroughly chewed Motoyasu out, the two other heroes, Ren and Itsuki called the Princess out on her actions, ensuring that nothing changed at all!
    • In the latter incident, she challenged the Shield Hero to a race of the Lordship of Riyute Village; Motoyasu and a Dragon vs Naofumi and his Filolial, Filo. Once again, when the Shield Heroes team started winning, Malty had her knights cast several spells to try and hinder Naofumi's progress and give Motoyasu the advantages. Despite all of this, Motoyasu still lost. Outraged, Malty tried to have Naofumi disqualified by claiming that he had cheated. Naofumi called her out on her actions and the Queens shadows confirmed it, thus leading to Malty and her comrades being led unceremoniously away.
  • You're Under Arrest!: In Episode 40, the Bokutou Officers head for an amusement park to spy on Miyuki and Ken having a date, and end up playing a survival paintball game. They quickly eliminate their enemies, who refuse to be defeated and decide to cheat by "reviving" themselves (when they were supposed to act dead until the game was over). Even though they manage to eliminate most of the team when they reach the enemy base, Miyuki and Natsumi end up winning the game anyway.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • In the original manga, a common formula is for Yami Yugi to challenge the unscrupulous antagonist of the chapter to a high-stakes Shadow Game, only for the antagonist to try to cheat, and either get caught or fail in spite of their cheating. Either outcome leads to unpleasant results for the antagonist.
    • Second series anime:
      • Jonouchi/Joey has a habit of dueling cheaters, such as Mai (perfume that enables her to predict her next draw by scent) and Bandit Keith (cards in his bracelets) in the Duelist Kingdom arc, and Esper/Espa (has his brothers spy on his opponents), Haga/Weevil (sabotages his deck) in Battle City, and Ooka/Johnson (uses the technology of the virtual world to manipulate his coin tosses and dice rolls) in the Virtual Nightmare Arc (and he used to be a lawyer, no less). Predictably, they all lose to him.
      • Also, there's the matter of Pegasus, whose Millennium Eye and ridiculously over-powered cards definitely grant him an advantage, but the cards are arguably not cheating as, well, he invented the game and he says so. Still, the ability to look at whatever cards your opponent has is against the rules he himself made. Kaiba eventually figures out that Pegasus is cheating (though not exactly how), and Yugi/Yami knows about the Eye from the beginning. Both eventually find ways to nullify it (Kaiba by simply not looking at his own hand, and Yugi and Yami by constantly switching between minds so Pegasus can't predict what they're going to do, and when that strategy ultimately proves too much of a strain, it turns out that the Eye's power can be blocked through the bonds of friendship, if those friends are focused on the goal of doing so).
      • Anzu/Tea faces Johnny Steps in a game of DanceDance Revolution. He tries to trip and elbow her, but she still beats him.
      • Most Rare Hunters that Yugi duels in Battle City cheat too. Seeker uses counterfeit Exodia cards that are also marked with ink that only he can see using special contact lenses. He also uses multiple Exodia pieces and Graceful Charity copies (although, whether that's illegal in this continuity isn't clear). Mask of Light and Mask of Darkness (Lumis and Umbra) have microphones hidden under their hoods, letting them communicate with each other in a way that Yugi and Kaiba clearly can't. (After stating that a team isn't allowed to share cards and strategies, no less.) In both cases, the Rare Hunters lose.
      • Pandora/Arkana is an even more blatant cheater: he trims the edges of an important card (Dark Magician) so that it lands on top of his deck when Yugi cuts it; additionally, in the manga he boasts - to himself - that as a stage magician, he knows over one-hundred ways to cheat at cards. Yugi is on to him, however; after using Card Destruction to ruin his plan (for the moment) he tells Pandora that it's clear to him that someone who would risk damaging his cards by "shotgun shuffling" would probably stoop to a trick like that too.
      • Ishizu uses a Millennium Item that lets her see the future to cheat in her Battle City duel with Kaiba (in the Japanese version, she personally 100% sees it as cheating and feels guilty about it but believes advancing in the tournament is the only way to save her brother). She loses when Kaiba's connection with the Blue-Eyes White Dragon causes him to have a vision that makes him change his plan at literally the last second.
      • In a filler arc, despite not needing to, Noah cheats like crazy during his duel with Kaiba out of petty sadism, using a mind-controlled Mokuba as a human shield to prevent Kaiba from attacking him, and "wins" by turning both Kaiba and Mokuba to stone. This however brings the wrath of Yugi and Yami down on Noah's head.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX
      • His status already on thin ice after losing to Jaden, Chazz is threatened with dorm demotion should he lose to Bastion in the latter's promotion exam duel. Chazz tries to get out of it by stealing and destroying Bastion's deck. Of course, Bastion has back-up decks, the duel goes on as scheduled, and Chazz loses (fortunately, hitting rock bottom like this prompts him to undergo Character Development and become a much stronger, much more honorable duelist).
      • Exactly how much Saiou/Satorius is cheating is debatable. Is future vision against the rules? It's also clear that the Light of Ruin is helping him a little, made more obvious when the thing takes complete control of him in the Final Battle. However, he blatantly cheats in the fourth season, planting a card called Arcana Force 0 - The Fool in Judai/Jaden's deck before the duel, and much like Weevil, uses a Spell Card to force him to summon it. Once he's done that, he's able to use its presence in combination with other cards that let him forgo the coin tosses for his luck-based cards, and is able to safely use some of the most dangerous ones, like Tour of Doom and Sowing of the Fool. Unfortunately for him, Judai finds a weakness in this strategy, manages to destroy the Fool, and when Saiou has to depend purely on luck for his cards, it proves outright terrible.
      • When Johan/Jesse is about to defeat Giese/Trapper, Giese threatens to rip up a Jerry Beans Man card that he stole from a kid, which would have likely killed the Duel Spirit connected to the card, if Johan tried to attack. Eventually, Judai knocks Giese down and recovers the card, allowing Johan to defeat him.
      • In the manga version of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Judai's first opponent, a teacher applicant named Ryuga, cheats by using a device that prevents his opponents from using Spell Cards. Judai is put in a tight spot when he's unable to use Fusion, but he manages to turn it around without even finding out what his opponent was doing. (Ryuga is never seen after that story; many fans assume he was fired, especially since losing to Judai meant he failed to fulfill the conditions needed to be recognized as an official professor of the school.)
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s:
      • Takasu/Armstrong, the warden of the Satellite prison, is corrupt, abusive, and rigs the Duel in his favor when Yusei is dueling him for freedom. Both players wear Shock Collars designed to shock a duelist when they lose Life Points; his was purposely not working. He also uses a security camera to look at Yusei's hand during the whole duel; however, this backfires on him badly when another inmate hacks the facility's system to turn his Shock Collar on and then causes a temporary blackout so that Yusei can switch his Set cards and cause Takasu to make a major mistake.
      • Clark Smith, the member of Yliaster who murdered Sherry LeBlanc's parents (although Sherry does admit that he didn't do it himself, but simply "allowed" it to happen). When Yusei confronts him, he challenges Yusei to a Concentration Duel, a special duel using house rules with elements of the game Concentration. It's rigged; the cards are all spread out face-down on the table, and Clark knows what his are due to marks on them that only he can read due to his special glasses. Yusei realizes he's cheating and wins anyway by using his own trick against him, and Clark pays dearly after he tries to kill Yusei and Sherry, something that defies the orders of his masters - they erase him from existence, literally.
      • Another example is Team Catastrophe. Originally three down-on-their-luck losers from Satellite, the Three Emperors of Yliaster gave them two Dark Cards that they thought would help them win the WRGP and catapult them to stardom. However, the first of these two cards is Hook the Hidden Knight, a card that houses the spirit of a demon that lets them defeat Team Unicorn by sabotaging their D-Wheels, causing their opponents to crash, injuring them. Team Catastrophe doesn't fare as well against Team 5D's; after Crow defeats their first duelist and destroys Hook the Hidden Knight, their leader Nicholas goes up against Jack, and uses the second Dark Card, a far more potent one that he cannot control. Nicholas barely escapes with his life, and in the end, he and his two teammates are bigger losers than they were before.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL:
      • The first cheaters in this series are Rikuo and Kaio (called Scorch and Chills in the dub) the original holders of Number 61: Volcasaurus and Number 19: Freezadon, respectively. As if cheating via deck stacking isn't bad enough, they plan to rob a rare card from a museum and frame Shark for it. (Fortunately, the two aren't convincing cheaters anyway.)
      • Jin (called Fortuno in the dub) uses a hidden camera to spy on the cards in Yuma's hand and relay the info to his D-Gazer, giving him an advantage because some of his cards require guessing the cards in the opponent's hand. Cathy figures it out and destroys the camera, and Yuma is able to beat him.
      • Tron and his three sons all cheat in some way, and in each case, they are ultimately beaten.
      • V has an incredibly broken monster on his field that is hidden from view, and doesn't let Kaito see it until the last second.
      • III steals Yuma's "Kattobing" and kills Astral, deleting both from Yuma's memories, severely diminishing his dueling skills. Astral gets better.
      • IV tricks Shark into peeking in his deck to get him disqualified, and leads Shark into a Magma field where his monsters are at a disadvantage.
      • Tron himself uses powerful magic to cheat, using his crest's power to eliminate any Trap Cards caught in his way during the Duel Carnival ride. (In his defense, exactly how much this qualifies as cheating is debatable, as Droite is the one who placed most of them deliberately to stop him.)
      • Then there's Mr. Heartland, who doen't even try to hide the fact that he blatantly rigs the duels between his henchmen, the Fearsome Five, and the heroes. Heartland uses a device that let Semimaru, Kurage and Mosquito Ninja all start their duels by taking half their opponents life points and adding it to theirs, just because he can. On top of that, Kurage and Mosquito Ninja handicap their opponents with poison and hallucinations respectively, while Semimaru simply discards a Battle Royal rule he doesn't like (not that he takes advantage of discarding that rule...) Nonetheless, they all lose, proving that they were poor duelists who can't win even when they don't care if the heroes know they're cheating.
      • Inverted with Yuma and Astral, who go so far as to fabricate entirely new cards on the spot to win some of their later duels and do nothing but prosper for it. Granted it's kind of a kill or be killed sort of thing, but still.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V: Zigzagged with seedy Duel Monsters agent Nico Smiley, who seriously rigs the odds of several duels against Yuya, only for Yuya to triumph each time. For instance, in Yuya's duel with the genius, Kyuando Eita, Yuya's last challenge to prove Fermat's Last Theorem in five seconds (required of Yuya for the final Trap Card) would be impossible by any reasonable standard.note  (Of course, Yuya wins because he had wants to answer wrong on that one, but Nico remains a cheater for including it.) Nico does prosper, however, because his intention is to test Yuya, who proves to be even better than he'd hoped.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS: Queen, the Corrupt Corporate Executive of SOL, resorts to cheating whenever things are going south for her, such as using a Dirty Coward skill during her Master Duel against Ai. Roboppy accuses her of cheating, but Ai won the Duel anyway thanks to Linguriboh's effect.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! SEVENS: Arata Arai/Buff Grimes uses a device in his duel disk that allows him to swap out his set cards with other cards in his deck as well as stack his deck to control what he draws. He loses both of his duels, first against Romin when Luke sabotages his device, then against Luke due to Luke's pure skill despite being able to use the device the whole time. Luke calls him out on his cowardice and lack of skill to resort to cheating.
  • Risho and his manager of YuYu Hakusho trapped two of the five protagonist team members before their match in the Dark Tournament; the protagonists were already at a disadvantage by being forced to fight two teams in one day. Kuwabara was already nearly dead, so Yusuke and Kurama were left to split five consecutive matches between the two of them. Before Yusuke begins the last fight against Risho himself, the manager bribes the judges to get Yusuke disqualified on a technicality. Both of them get what's coming to them when Kuwabara gets in the ring despite his injuries and defeats Risho, while up in the booth Toguro easily murders the manager, because he felt the man was disgusting, although he reasons (correctly) that if Yusuke's team is worth his time, they should be able to overcome their predicament.
  • Inverted in episodes 24 and 25 of Yumeiro Pâtissière, when Miya Koshiro ("The Heiress")'s team defeats Team Ichigo in the Cake Grand Prix semi-finals by having one of its members spy on Ichigo in order to steal Team Ichigo's recipe. To add injury to insult, said spy went so far as to make the room hotter, thus ruining the chocolate Team Ichigo was making. To add further to the humiliation, Team Ichigo lost by only ONE point.

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: Subverted. In Episode 44, Doctor H. tries to take muscle-enhancing drugs to help him win the fitness competition. The other heroes try to convince him against it, to no avail; however, when he makes it to the competition, Doctor H. ultimately decides not to use the drugs.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix: Played with. The Roman team (which includes Asterix) at the Games is humiliated by the various Greek cities, and because they're so useless, the Greeks come up with a special Roman-only event. The Roman competitors take this extremely seriously, so Asterix subtly manipulate them all into taking a dose of the magic potion, which constitutes a drug offence. In the race the next day, Asterix, the only competitor not to cheat, comes a distant last, but the Romans are exposed and Asterix is declared the winner. He then gives away the laurel wreath to one of the Roman competitors, who gets all the credit back in Rome and is promoted as a result.
  • The Ultimates: The Colonel fights fairly with Cap at first but signals for help when he's losing. Very shortly after, he is killed.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Outright stated to be the moral of "Tutine, the Tutor of Destruction," to quote the opening blurb: "when you see the terrible trouble that one boy brought [...]on himself[...]when his cheating placed him in the clutches of an avaricious gangster, you will agree that such dishonesty always invites disaster."

    Fairy Tales 
  • Alexander Afanasyev's "The Soldier And Death": Subverted when the soldier plays cards with a band of demons. All devils cheat every round but they cannot win any game no matter what...since the soldier is using a magically-rigged pack of cards.

    Fan Works 
  • In The AFR Universe story "King of Thieves", the Phantom Thieves of Hearts play the King's Game together in a hotel. Late into the game, they discover that Joker was cheating to be King several times in a row. As punishment, they're locked out of the hotel room and forced to sleep on the balcony for the rest of the night.
  • At least two examples in The Awakening of a Magus:
    • During the ritual to cure Remus, a local wolf pack leader is displeased at Harry's and the werewolf's presence, so he challenges Harry to a honor duel... and attempts to make it a fight to kill. However, with Harry's physical changes, all it does is nearly get him killed (Harry is forced to heal up a major artery) and cost a lot of standing with other pack leaders.
    • When a particularly arrogant transfer student attempts to cheat in a fencing duel with Draco by using a stamina-restoring talisman, Draco simply beats him despite the cheating, after which his trainer is notified.
  • In My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic, Dusk Shine drugs Celesto's water during a tournament to determine who will guard Celestia. He gets caught, stripped of his rank, and banished.
  • Peace's Apprentice: Aizawa expels Izuku before the Quirk Assessment Test on their first day so that he can replace him with his protege Shinsou. This prompts Nezu to strip away his ability to instantly expel students so that he can't abuse it any further, but the damage is already done: the rest of the class no longer trusts Aizawa to support them, and when the League attacks the USJ, they have to deal with it without Izuku or All Might intervening. And to top it off, Shinsou is so badly injured that he's rendered effectively Quirkless, and Aizawa gets fired when he tries to browbeat his student into continuing, refusing to acknowledge it was All for Nothing.
  • Often shown in the sidestories of Pokémon Reset Bloodlines. Like in canon, Character of the Day Dario attempts to cheat in the Big P Pokémon Race, losing two consecutive years, first to Lara Laramie (using the excuse that she rode her father's Rapidash, which is considered the fastest in the Kanto region), and the next year to Ash after injuring Lara to get her to sit out of the race.
  • In Scarlet Lady's take on "Riposte", Kagami's determination to prove herself the best of the best drives her to force Adrien off the mat and chase him around. While D'Argencourt permits her corps-a-corps, taking the fight away from where everyone could see it clearly prevented the audience members from making any kind of fair call. As a result, D'Argencourt goes with the first ruling anyone is willing to make decisively: namely, Chloé's declaration that Adrien won. The author's commentary under the comics stresses the point that Kagami lost because "you can't be the greatest fencer in the world if you DON'T FOLLOW THE RULES OF FENCING!"
  • In Yugioh EQG, Flash figures out that Trixie cheats in her duels by hacking into the Duel Disks of who she wants to challenge to look at their decks, then constructs a deck specifically designed to counter them. Flash sneaks two Pendulum cards into Twilight's deck to even the playing field, and this allows Twilight to win.
    • In the sequel Yugioh EQG: Shadow Gates, Grable and his two lackeys sneak into the finals after knocking out Cloak N Dagger before his duel with Flash, steal his Pendulum Cards and challenge Flash to a 3 on 1 duel. They also rigged their duel disks to give them the exact same opening hand to trap Flash in an inescapable lock so he can't attack any of them. Flash breaks the lock by summoning a new Xyz monster to clear their fields and eliminates all three in just one hit, greatly injuring them in the process.

    Game Shows 
  • Taskmaster
    • The titular Taskmaster has zero tolerance for cheating. Unlike cleverly applying Loophole Abuse or Exact Words which can net you the win, actual cheating such as lying about what you accomplished, playing with Alex's timer, or deliberately breaking a rule of the task, will see you (and your whole team if it's a team task) get zero points.
    • Played for Laughs by Sarah Kendall during the Stack Your Buckets challenge of Series 11 Episode 1. While everyone else degenerated into trying to outright sabotage each other's stacks by throwing things, Sarah just diligently built her tower. Not only did she get 5 points, but she's the only one who got any pointsnote .
      Sarah: You see? Following the rules can be fun!

  • Several times throughout the H.I.V.E. Series do Otto and Laura compete to steal the answers to upcoming exams. Justified in that they both know they would do fine without the answers, they are only doing it for the challenge. When they do this with the rest of their squad, however, thirty-six Alphas are captured or killed, four of whom were directly involved with the heist, and Otto is himself expelled.
  • In Unseen Academicals, the titular Academicals play a game of football against Ankh-Morpork United, which includes Andy Shank and his thuggish friends. Said thugs proceed to cripple the Academicals' best player, while a supporter poisons the Librarian, who is playing goalkeeper. This backfires spectacularly on them when the replacement players ( Mr. Nutt and Trev Likely) manage to win by playing by the rules (in a manner of speaking). The bad guys also failed to take into account that even if they won the match, they would have made enemies of both the wizards and the Patrician. With enemies like that, they would have most definitely not prospered for long. The Librarian alone is likely to break a lot of bones belonging to the people who messed with his bananas. This is lampshaded by one of the professional players on the AU team, who would have been more than happy to play a clean professional game and beaten the amateur Academicals through skill alone.
  • Icarus, a chariot driver in Detectives in Togas. He manages to push his opponent Ben Gor from his chariot - but the horses keep running well without their driver, and without his weight, they're much faster.
  • Despite using performance-enhancing drugs and shortcuts, George Hellebore in SilverFin ends up being beaten in a cross-country race by young James Bond, who, while using the same shortcuts he is, manages to beat him with his naturally developed athletism.
  • Harry Potter:
    • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Gilderoy Lockhart claims to have defeated several magical creatures and has written books about his alleged exploits. In reality, the creatures in question were defeated by other witches and wizards, with Lockhart wiping their memories and stealing the credit. When Harry and Ron find out about this, Lockhart tries to erase their memories as well, but uses Ron's wand note  and gets hit by the spell he was trying to use on the two boys. By Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, he's become a long-term patient in Saint Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies.
    • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Malfoy and three other Slytherin students try to scare Harry in the middle of a Quidditch match by dressing as Dementors. Harry's team still wins the match; Harry, rather than panicking, uses his Patronus charm successfully for the first time (scaring the four of them half to death); and they're nabbed by a very angry McGonagall and given detention. They also end up costing Slytherin 50 house points.
  • Towards the end of The Berenstain Bears and the Big Road Race, the orange and yellow cars have both been eliminated from the race, leaving only the green, blue, and extremely slow red cars. The red car is going so slowly that the driver of the green car describes the situation as a "two-car" race. After pulling a dirty trick that blows the blue car's tires, the driver of the green car decides to be a Last-Second Showoff and orders a burger at a fast-food restaurant. Because of the determination of the red car's driver (who is all but said to be Brother), the burger ends up costing more than money.
  • The Berenstain Bears Big Chapter Books:
    • In The Berenstain Bears and the Female Fullback, at the start of the climactic football game, Bertha comes out with her uniform in knots, and reveals her pads have been stolen too. It turns out to be the doing of a few members of the opposing team, who did so in order to keep her from participating because they couldn't stand the idea of losing to a girl. Naturally, their plan fails: Too-Tall gives Bertha his own pads, and the uniform gets untied in time for her to take part. Beartown easily wins the match as a result.
    • In The Berenstain Bears at Camp Crush, the cubs at Camp Grizzmeyer are taking part in the Inter-Camp Games at the end of the summer, and the trope comes into play when it's time for the basketball game — back home, Too-Tall is rarely punished for his usual style of playing dirty, but here, it gets the team penalized, as he's fouled out in all but one game, and the team finishes third overall as a result.
    • Invoked in-universe in The Berenstain Bears and the Bermuda Triangle. After the cubs discover that Carl King has stolen test answers from Miss Glitch and sold them to his classmates, they inform the school of his theft and cheating. Miss Glitch promptly works up a new test, ensuring that those who memorized the stolen test rather than studying properly will fail the new one (and be identified in the process so they can be properly punished)... which she rather bluntly informs the class of right before they're about to take the test.
  • This is a recurring theme in the Extreme Monsters book series, with the Extreme Monsters' rivals Team Pendant always attempting to win the games by cheating and the Extreme Monsters prevailing simply by not stooping to their rivals' level. The most notable instance happens in the third book Meet Mr. Hydeous, where Doc's nephew Gerald competes in the winter games under the guise of Mr. Hydeous, a monster alter ego obtained from drinking a botched diet formula his uncle created, and ends up disqualified and banned from further participation when it is revealed that his monster form wasn't affected by his Neutralizer Wristband (a Power Limiter monster athletes are required to wear during competitions to prevent their abilities from giving them an unfair advantage over human athletes).
  • In the gamebook The Return of Zaltec, the final boss battle is unbeatable without solving a certain puzzle. However, the battle page tells the player to turn to a certain page if they beat the boss (which is impossible). If the player cheats and turns there, they are given a (fake) mediocre, unsatisfying ending.
  • The Witch of Knightcharm:
    • A rookie witch named Elzbieta is forced, along with all her potential classmates at an evil Wizarding School, to compete in a potentially lethal obstacle course as part of orientation. She tries to get the older students to bend the rules and exempt her from the curse. They curse her so badly she's in agony for days. And, of course, she still has to run the course.
    • Lily tries to cheat in orientation by getting equipment from older students and by having Brynne, who knows seer magic, look into the future and then secretly relay that information to Lily so Lily can anticipate where the death traps will be and dodge them. Emily manages to overwhelm and defeat Lily just before Lily would have finished the orientation course in first place.
  • Reign of the Seven Spellblades: The election for Student Council President that begins in volume 6 leads to Leoncio Echevalria's faction, which lost to the Campus Watch the year before the series begins, making several attempts to cheat in order to make the opposing Campus Watch candidate Vera Miligan look weaker, since mages tend to believe in Might Makes Right. These backfire.
    • By volume 6, the Sword Roses have become minor celebrities in the student body and are known to be supporting Miligan. During Nanao's broomsports match against Diana Ashbury's team, a supporter of the old council shines a light in her eyes to throw off her aim during her attack run against Diana, but is caught, embarrassing Echevalria.
    • In volume 8, the old council tries to interfere with the Campus Watch's mission to recover President Godfrey's sternum after it was stolen by Cyrus Rivermoore in the middle of a Tournament Arc, depowering him when he has matches scheduled. Richard Andrews and his teammates initially work with the old council, bringing them into conflict with the Sword Roses, but after old council member Khiirgi Albschuch is defeated by Campus Watch Number Two Lesedi Ingwe, Andrews calls the old council out for trying to cheat and quits, saying that if they want the students' support, they need to earn it fairly.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • 50% of the time, if a Heel attempts a cheating tactic, they will immediately lose.
    • Rush at John Cena with a steel chair or similar object and he will duck under you and hit you with the Attitude Adjustment anyway. Rob Van Dam will just kick it back into your face and then stand there pointing to himself with his thumbs.
    • One time, Road Warrior Animal slapped on brass knuckles and tried to punch Chris Benoit, but Chris caught his punch and locked him in the Crippler Crossface for victory.
  • Several times, when jobber Iron Mike Sharpe would be on the verge of winning a match, he would pull a foreign object out of his trunks and put it in his arm brace. He would then set up his opponent for a clothesline, who would duck under and hit their finisher on Mike.

    Video Games 
  • Shadi Smith in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. He tries to cheat Phoenix in a game of Poker, but it doesn't work and ends up losing, he then hits the dealer that helped him cheat but screwed up and is then killed while Phoenix is calling the police.
  • Averted in Assassin's Creed II: Ezio (and the player) win the Carnivale games fair and square, even with the minions of his latest target cheating. However, at the awards ceremony, the prize is given to another minion, to the obvious displeasure of the spectators, and making it necessary to steal the prize away from the cheater ( if it makes you feel better, he gets his in the next memory segment).
    • Ezio does technically cheat first, in an earlier event. When the goal is to charm various women in the crowd into giving you tokens they're carrying, Ezio instead pickpockets said tokens en masse. It's possible this is Gameplay and Story Segregation caused by the limits of the engine, and it certainly doesn't compare to sending thugs with knives into a boxing match.
  • In the Wii version of Punch-Out!!, you can pull this on Aran Ryan by using a 3-Star Punch on after blocking his headbutt or a Star Punch during his illegal Last Ditch Move where he swings a horseshoe on a rope. He will NOT get back up from this, and you will win.
  • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Rawk Hawk would clearly be considered a heel wrestler if he was a real one. The underhanded tactics he uses to try to keep his title turn out badly for him; Mario makes his way to the arena despite being locked out.
    • The first opponents, a team of a few Goombas, attack Mario while Grubba is explaining the rules, but they're so weak that they take hardly any effort to defeat two chapters ago, much less now. The Iron Cleft Twins attack after a match, but if you're prepared and have Yoshi, they'll go down easily. Even if you lose, it won't affect Mario's rank, just your pride.
  • In Chapter 7 of Sly 2: Band of Thieves, the Cooper Gang keep trying to ruin Jean Bison's Lumberjack Games by messing with his attempts, but Jean repeatedly threatens the judges into giving him perfect scores. Come the final game, the gang gets desperate and knocks out and replaces the judges. Unfortunately, Jean might be big, but he isn’t stupid. He recognizes the gang and quickly incapacitates them.
  • Inverted in the Touhou Project game Danmaku Amanojaku ~ Impossible Spell Card. Because the main character in this game (Seija Kijin) is a troublemaker and an anarchist, she has become wanted in Gensokyo, and her opponents will go all out against her with attacks that are (true to name) sometimes outright impossible to beat... normally. Thankfully, Seija, being who she is, packs a few handy items for cheating at danmaku duels. Subverting game mechanics to your advantage through the use of said items is thus the very point of the game and the only reason Seija can succeed at all. Turns into Double Subverted when you realize that the Unwinnable spell cards aren't unwinnable at all and, in true Touhou fashion, actually managing them without the help of a bomb (or item in this case) yields the best possible bonus.
  • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, the player can come across Cullen and Dorian playing chess. Cullen wins, and you can then have a game yourself. If you take the option to cheat, he beats you and explains that Dorian cheats as well - taking the "play fair" option is the only way you can win.
  • In the Henry Stickmin Series, specifically in Fleeing the Complex, this is said word-for-word in the fail screen if the Tool Gun option (which causes Henry to open up the console and enter a cheat which allows him to fly and go through solid objects) is selected.
  • Cooking Diary: Creighton isn't above underhanded schemes to climb his way to the top, using a flavor enhancer to beat the player in a competition. It ends up working against him since said formula causes a rather unsightly allergic reaction that gets him disqualified.
  • Near the end of Grid Legends, it is revealed that Nathan McKane is driving an illegally overpowered car, as Marcus Ado and Lara Carvalho, call him out for it. Lara reveals herself as a turncoat for Seneca, since she was the one who told Ajeet about the McKanes cheating and in the process leaves Ravenwest. Despite Ryan filling in for Lara's spot in the final race, Seneca wins, and Nathan is most likely banned from motorsport racing, and Ryan is ultimately arrested.
  • WipEout has this happen to Triakis, after they boasted the best ship in Pure due to a bug that gave them the lowest deceleration rate; after the bug was fixed for Pulse and HD/Fury, it was actually written into the backstory as Triakis having implemented a "sophisticated reverse-inertia deceleration system" that gave their ship an unfair advantage. Needless to say, Triakis got hit with this trope when they were stripped of their FX300 League championship, which was subsequently awarded to AG Systems.

    Web Animation 
  • Fazbear and Friends (ZAMination): In the three Squid Game games, Bendy kills Foxy by cheating in order to win, only to realize that he is detected as a cheater and dies at the worst moment, this is avoided in the game of "HIDE AND SEEK" where he ends up coming in second place.
  • Gawr Gura and Murasaki Shion of hololive had a collaborative stream where they played each other in Mario Kart 8. Shion kept winning race after race, and managed to win a bet against Gura whereby the latter would have to say something embarrassing live on stream. Shion needed time to translate what she wanted said into English (Shion's native language is Japanese) as well as send it via Discord, so while Shion was distracted Gura noticed the next race had been green-lighted and started to drive, getting a head start before Shion noticed what Gura was doing, loudly protesting as she scrambled to catch up. Gura still lost the race, meaning she had to say "I love Shion-chan. Let's get married" and it got clipped and posted to Shion's social media accounts.

  • AoHaru Manga Library: A recurring theme of the story is that Keiichi is an honest student or worker, whereas his antagonists tend to be cheaters who constantly screw the rules to get ahead in life, often at Keiichi's expense. However, Keiichi's hard work eventually pays off while giving him fortune, while the cheater's prosperity will be just temporary and disaster awaits afterwards.
  • Subverted in Tower of God, where the "Hide And Seek" test was actually about to teams competing in doing a task better than the others, without even coming in contact. Since the test was only a point gathering test serving to qualify the best for the last test, people started going out of their way to beat their own teammates to the point of injuring them to incapacitate them. While Khun lead to his team to sure victory but in the end helped Quant to make them lose anyway, just to help his friends on the opposing team, Paracule and Mauchi tried to make everybody sacrifice themselves for them and even took hostages, while Ho tried to eliminate Bam and Endorsi gathered her fellow Fishermen in one point and attacked them. The end result was that Mauchi failed while Paracule passed, Endorsi was the best Fisherman but Hong Chunhwa also managed to pass, Ho died and Khun succeeded. Success was not determined by the degree of rule-abiding, but by skill of bending the rules, strength and sheer luck.
  • In Kevin & Kell, Rudy, who's struggling with hunting, gets some lessons from his friend/future girlfriend Fiona, but ultimately decides to rely on pheromones to pass, much to Fiona's dismay. When he takes his next test, he's told that pheromones are prohibited, panics and promptly fails.

    Web Original 
  • The G Mod Idiot Box: Dr. Hax makes sure that Chuckle's cheating is rewarded with a CRT monitor to the head.
  • One of the most constant elements of Homestar Runner, and one of the few nods to his original role as the villain to Homestar's hero is that Strong Bad always cheats and always loses. Even in "Kick-A-Ball", where he tries to play fair, he loses because he'd previously cheated by altering the rulebook, meaning that Homestar's "cheating" to win was actually allowed.
  • Snopes has a number of these:
    • One story tells of a group of students who take some time to play before going to school and show up late as a result. They tell their teacher that they had to fix a flat tire. The teacher tells them they missed a test that morning and gives them a make-up test. The question worth the most points (or the first question in some versions): "Which tire?"
    • Another story tells of a student who stopped by the professor's office to find him missing. He then stole a copy of the next exam. The teacher found out the exam had been stolen, but not by whom. So, he cut half an inch off of the other exams and the cheater was discovered as the one with an exam half an inch too long.
    • Another story simultaneously subverts and plays this trope straight. A music student is required to write a symphony as a final exam and finds an assignment turned in by a previous student (sometimes the professor himself). The student then copies the symphony but reverses it. He turns in the assignment, then gets it back with a failing grade and the message "Why did you turn in Beethoven's Fourth?" (The subversion applies to the previous student who did the same thing and apparently got away with it.)
  • Achievement Hunter has had a few instances of this happening.
    • One episode of Let's Play Minecraft had Caleb caught stealing fish out of Gavin and Ray's buckets. It's notable in that he hasn't been in the series except for one instance since then.
    • One episode of Let's Play Grand Theft Auto IV, "Cops 'n Crooks Part 3" had Gavin's flagrant diving piss off Ray and Michael so much they throw him off of Team Lads for a few weeks.
  • Governor Ventoraman in the celebrity edition of Who Wants to be an Alienaire. He only gets past the first 3 questions because Bill or Tutt (the other celebrities) give him the answers. After they decide to let him be on his own for the 4th question, Governor declares that he "knew what the answer was anyway." He promptly gets it wrong.
  • The RED Team is very guilty of this in Moments with Heavy:
    • In "Heavy Goes Bowling", RED Heavy tries to cheat several times to win against BLU Heavy in their bowling match. He is eventually disqualified when he pulls out a gun and tries shooting BLU Heavy.
    • The RED Team rely on their special weapons and techniques to pass their driving tests in "Heavy Takes his Driving Test" (Medic using Ubercharge to plow through, Demoman placing stickybombs in specific spots to move the test along, etc.). Naturally, it's because of their methods that they fail their tests. RED Spy almost passes the test, and botches it because he stops to kill the pedestrian.
  • The "Monster Mashionals part 2" season 2 finale of Monster High has Nefara De Nile break out the De Nile family idols to cheat against younger sister Cleo and her Fear Squad. This has her OWN team turn against Nefara, and to add insult to injury, video of Nefara cheating is shown on a jumbotron. In a final Laser-Guided Karma action, Nefara's stripped of her past awards as well.
  • Skeppy:

    Web Video 
  • The video called "These World Record Super Mario 64 Speedrunners Were All Caught Cheating" by YouTuber charliebrown64 touches up on a couple of cheaters across Super Mario 64's entire speedrunning history, ranging from well-known ones like ShadowOfMyles, WhiteAris and Akikan, to lesser-known ones like fraglilicism. But a particular noteworthy case brought up in the video involves a speedrunner by the name of Marius M. (better known as holymoly2207), who at the time was the only person to contest kirbykarter's 20:46 16-Star record with a 20:00 run in 2005 complete with video proof. However, Holymoly's run was rejected by the admins of Speed Demos Archive because of Sensory Abuse with the video's audio, but it was never suspected to be cheated until 2017 when Holymoly bragged about his record on Cheese's 1:39:57 120-Star world record run. This prompted one of the mods of SM64's leaderboards named GothicLogic to investigate his claim even further, eventually discovering that his 20:00 16-Star run was spliced. The only reason Holymoly partially got away with cheating was because of his relative obscurity and silence over the decade, only getting caught once he broke that silence on someone else's record.
  • Another YouTuber Karl Jobst has devoted numerous videos to speedrun and video game world record cheaters, and how they were exposed. He has stated numerous times that, thanks to near-flawless identification tactics like audio analysisnote , frame rulesnote , and demo playbacksnote , intimate knowledge of what games and gamers are and aren't capable ofnote , and even simple understandings of effective and ineffective tacticsnote , that it would actually be easier to do the speed run for real than it would be to make a fake video that would actually fool the experts.
  • Party Crashers:

    Real Life 
  • In 1502, during the Italian Wars, famed Spanish soldier Diego García de Paredes was challenged to a singles duel by a French soldier whose brothers García had killed on the battlefield. García accepted and, being the challenged, mandated for them to fight with iron clubs he produced. The Frenchman turned out to be unable to lift his club, so he dropped it, drew illegally his sword and wounded García in the hip with a thrust. However, García, who could lift his club and had chosen these weapons for this reason, just struck the Frenchman on the head after the cheapshot, caving in his skull and killing him.
  • In the 1994 Olympics, figure skater Tonya Harding's ex-husband Jeff Gillooly and bodyguard Shawn Eckhardt ordered an attack on Nancy Kerrigan, another skater and Harding's biggest competition. After the news broke, she attempted to interfere in the investigation. Harding was arrested, charged with a $160,000 fine, and was banned from figure skating for life.
  • In the 2013 NFL season, Mike Tomlin, the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, was standing just a little too close to the out-of-bounds area as Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones was headed for the endzone. While Tomlin jumped out of the way, it was clear that he'd done it to distract Jones, and he was fined by the NFL.
  • During the early '80s, the old Southwest Conference in college football had rampant recruiting violations by every member ("if you ain't cheating, you ain't trying"), and Southern Methodist University got smacked with the "death penalty" in 1987 - sanctions so harsh the program has never recovered from them. Neither did the conference; within a decade, the conference disbanded.
  • Major League Baseball:
    • Pete Rose was part of a gambling scandal that labeled him permanently ineligible from Major League Baseball, disqualifying him from the Hall of Fame. As if that weren't enough, he was convicted of tax evasion and spent five months in jail for it.
    • Though players like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens aren't banned from the MLB Hall of Fame, voters have taken an understandably dim view of steroid users and rejected their bids by wide margins. This despite the many other users who fell well short of Hall of Fame numbers even with steroids, proving that it still takes talent to be that good.
      • The cases of Bonds and Clemens are considered especially interesting. The book Game of Shadows documents Bonds's massive ego getting the better of him after his historic accomplishment in the 1998 season — becoming the first player in Major League history with 400 home runs and 400 stolen bases — was completely overshadowed by McGwire and Sosa's home run race (ending up with 70 and 66 home runs, respectively). While the start of Clemens's usage isn't as well documented, the prevailing suspicion is that after four disappointing and injury-plagued seasons from 1993 to 1996, he turned to PEDs to revitalize his career, as he showed a marked return to the form he'd shown in his prime, winning the award for best pitcher in the American League in both 1997 and 1998. Like Bonds, his ego proved to be his undoing.
    • A subversion occurs with corked batsnote , which violates several MLB rules and any player that gets caught using one in a game will be suspended while everyone points and laughs at the guy dumb enough to get busted with a loaded bat. The subversion comes from the fact that corking your bat doesn't give you any sort of competitive advantage, in other words it's not cheating. All making the bat lighter means is that you now have less mass (and therefore less force) to transfer into the ball, the exact opposite of what you're trying to accomplish. Mythbusters proved this, and anyone that remembers grade school physics has already figured it out on their own. Of course if you don't actually know this then a sort of placebo effect kicks in: if you think you have a competitive advantage, that's a huge boost to your confidence.
  • NASCAR had Clint Bowyer's spin with seven laps to go, which is referred to by some as the Spingate Scandal. There's a sizeable contingent of fans, drivers (such as Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who was right behind Bowyer and had the best view), and quite a few commentators who believe that Bowyer intentionally spun himself out in an attempt to benefit teammate Martin Truex, Jr. NASCAR almost immediately announced that the incident was under review, and on the following Monday, NASCAR threw the book at Bowyer and his racing team: Bowyer lost 50 points, throwing him down to 12th in the Chase seeding and already more than a full race behind 11th place. His team (and two others) were also hit with owner point penalties, along with a $300,000 fine, and GM of Competition Ty Norris was indefinitely suspended.
  • If the doping history in the Tour de France with cyclists like Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis is any indication, doping has become widespread in cycling. The doping scandals are further apart than they used to be, where most of the doping scandals in the 2013 media are old ones (Armstrong, Hamilton, Dekker, Rasmussen). This has led to the joke that the best way to become a Tour De France winner is simply to finish. Even if you're in last place, sooner or later everybody ahead of you will be disqualified.
  • Marion Jones was the darling of Olympic Track & Field. However, after getting linked to an insurance fraud racket, Jones was forced to admit she used steroids in order to reduce her jail time. She gave a public speech admitting she cheated and was stripped of all her medals. Since then, Jones has been trying to make a comeback in different sports, but so far nothing successful has come of it. To be just, Victor Conte, her drug supplier, made it clear that she was actually competing on an equal level, because most if not all of the athletes she competed with, were also using steroids. Given that other athletes worldwide tested positive in future Olympic games since the scandal, Conte might be telling the truth.
  • Cheating scandals are not uncommon in Association Football.
    • The most famous cheating scandal in football was the 2006 Italian football scandal known as "Calciopoli", where national powerhouse team Juventus was shown to be in cahoots with other teams such as Milan, Lazio, Reggina and Fiorentina for rigging matches on their favor by picking referees that favored Juventus. The result? Juventus was stripped of their 2004-05 and 2005-06 Serie A titles and was forcibly relegated to Serie B for the 2006-07 season, while Fiorentina and Lazio were denied a place respectively in the Champions League and the UEFA Cup. Milan was deducted 30 points from their 2005-06 campaign, while Reggina merely had a $70,000 fine and had their president banned from all football activities for two-and-a-half years.
    • France was also hit by a football scandal in 1993. Olympique de Marseille was crowned champion in the 1992-93 French First Division for the fourth consecutive time by winning 1-0 against relegation-threatened Valenciennes. However, allegations came afloat that OM bribed Valenciennes to deliberately throw the match so that Marseille can be better prepared for their Champions League final against Milan. Valenciennes player Jacques Glassmann, however, refused to take part in the bribe and helped French police to solve the case. Marseille were stripped of their national title and were relegated to Division 2 for the next season, but second-placed Paris Saint-Germain turned down the offer to take the title for themselves. Despite this, though, Marseille's plans seem to have worked, as they later on defeated Milan 1-0 to claim the first (and currently only) Champions League in the current format won by a French side.note 
  • In the boxing world, Antonio Margarito was a feared power puncher that had knockout power in both hands and a rock hard chin. Even the great Floyd Mayweather Jr. seemed afraid to fight him, or so his critics will have you believe. Margarito was a big middleweight that could make the welterweight division. His most famous victory was against Miguel Cotto, whom he battered savagely that night, breaking his jaw. Then came the night Margarito was to fight "Sugar" Shane Mosley. Mosley's trainer discovered Margarito's people loading his gloves with liquid plaster, which got hard after getting wet. It already had dried blood on it, suggesting it was used many times before. After The Reveal, Margarito got knocked out by Shane Mosley the same night. Margarito, who no longer had punching power, was exposed as a cheater and nicknamed "Margacheato". However, the trope was almost averted when he still landed a big money fight with superstar boxer Manny Pacquiao... only for Pacquiao to beat Margarito up so badly, the injuries ended his career and permanently damaged one of his eyes.
  • In a more literal case with both boxing and Mixed Martial Arts any fighter that fails their pre or post-fight PED test will not only lose a victory on their record if they won but will also forfeit most of their payoff for the fight.
  • In 2013, Brooklyn Nets coach Jason Kidd tried to stall the end of an NBA game by telling one of his players to "hit me" and make him spill his beverage, forcing a time-out. Not only did the Nets lose, but the NBA found out what he had done, and fined Kidd $50,000.
  • The college admissions scandal of 2019, especially after it was revealed that well-known actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin (AKA: Aunt Becky) had taken part in efforts to get a college admission exam rigged so that their daughters could be admitted into a college. Both eventually pled guilty, however, this trope especially applies to Lori Loughlin, who pleaded not guilty at first. Felicity Huffman was sentenced to 2 weeks in prison for her role. She was also fined $30,000, and has to perform 250 hours of community service.
  • In 2023, the Florida Panthers played incredibly dirty during their playoff run, including most egregiously having one player grab an opponent's stick to restrain them which went unpenalized. Come the finals, the Panthers get buried by the Vegas Golden Knights and their displays of poor sportsmanship become apparent to all.
  • Rosie Ruiz, the infamous woman's runner who cheated in the Boston Marathon in 1980. When she had no hope of completing the race, Ruiz ended up diving aside and snuck her way onto a subway, taking it to near the finish line and completing it at what could have been the fastest time ever for a woman. Despite confusion and suspicion from other runners, Boston Marathon officials just couldn't find proof that Ruiz somehow cheated until two Harvard students, John Faulkner and Sola Mahoney, stepped forward and revealed they had spotted a woman who suspiciously looked like Ruiz stumble out of the crowd near the finish line and race her way to the finish. Even more, a freelance photographer, Susan Morrow, revealed that she ran into Ruiz on the subway during the New York Marathon she competed in prior. This was more than enough evidence to get Ruiz disqualified from both races.


Video Example(s):


A Star is Burns

Despite receving a very negative reception at the Springfield Film Festival, Mr. Burns was determined to let his film "A Burns for All Seasons" win the festival. To do so, he bribed two of the five judges, Mayor Quimby and Krusty the Clown respectively, to win the grand prize. However, he loses to Barney Gumble's "Pukahontas" due to Homer changing his vote from Hans Moleman's "Man Getting Hit by Football" to Barney's film, in line with Jay Sherman and Marge's votes. Six months later, Burns tries to win an Oscar by bribing everyone in Hollywood, but he ends up losing to a remake of "Man Getting Hit by Football" starring George C. Scott, proving Marge's point earlier in the episode that some awards can't be bribed.

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Main / CheatersNeverProsper

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