Rosie Ruiz is Boston Marathon Cheater

February 11, 2009

This is Rosie Ruiz. She is the runner who cheated to win the Boston Marathon in 1980. Read more about the Rosie Ruiz scandal below, see photos, and watch a video.

Rosie Ruiz

Rosie Ruiz

The Rosie Ruiz scandal is one of the Top 10 Sports Scandals of all time. Back in 1980, Rosie Ruiz, a 23-year-old New Yorker, was the first woman to cross the finish line in the Boston Marathon. It seemed she had achieved the third fastest time ever recorded for a female runner – 2 hours, 31 minutes, and 56 seconds. And besides this incredibly fast time, she fantastically appeared sweat-free and relaxed as she climbed the winner’s podium to accept her wreath. Later, she was disqualified after it was discovered she was a big cheat; apparently jumping into the race during the last half-mile and then simply sprinted to the finish line ahead of everyone else who HAD actually ran the race!

You can read Rosie Ruiz’s full story here and see additional pictures.

And coincidentally, it appears we may have the ‘Rosie Ruiz’ of long-distance swimmers identified as well!

Rosie Ruiz Biography

Rosie Ruiz Vivas was born 1953 in Havana, Cuba. She is most famous for being the Cuban-American Marathon runner who on April 21, 1980 won the 84th Boston Marathon in the women’s division, but who was later stripped of her title when it was found that she had cheated.

Rosie Ruiz supposedly completed the marathon with a record time of 2:31:56. However it was determined that she had not ran the entire 26.2-mile course, but had registered for the race and later jumped in from the crowd and sprinted to the finish line ahead of the pack. She then boldly claimed the win as her own.

People actually doubted her story from the beginning because no one had really seen Rosie in the race. Eventually, race officials stripped Ruiz of her Boston Marathon title and named Jacqueline Gareau of Montreal, Canada the women’s winner, with a time of 2:34:28. New York Marathon director Fred Lebow had rescinded Ruiz’s 1979 finish earlier that week, determining that Ruiz had not completed her first marathon, either. What a cheater!

The real winner, Jacqueline Gareau was awarded her medal over a week after the marathon. Her’s was bigger than the one that Ruiz had originally received, equal in size to the larger men’s medal.

A few years later, Rosie Ruiz was arrested in New York on forgery and grand larceny charges after her employer accused her of stealing $60,000. She spent a week in jail and was sentenced to five years’ probation. A year later, she was jailed in Miami on charges of selling cocaine to undercover agents.

It is unknown what Rosie Ruiz has been doing most recently. We will update as information becomes available to us.

Rosie Ruiz Video
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