Rosie Ruiz burst into the spotlight with an apparently dramatic win at the 1980 Boston Marathon. Her 'winning' time of 2:31:56 was a record for the course and the third fastest marathon run by any woman in history. There was a problem though. Nobody could recall seeing her on the course, there was no video evidence of her ever having been leading the race and several people noticed that when she crossed the finish line she was remarkably fresh and virtually sweat-free. Nonetheless the good people of Boston welcomed her as their conquering hero and she was awarded the winners medal and laurel wreath.

But the party didn't last long. Soon enough witnesses came forward to state that they'd seen her jump from the crowd into the race about a half mile from the finish line and stories started to circulate that she hadn't really run the New York Marathon earlier in the year either (it was her time in that race that had qualified her for Boston). With a full fledged scandal on their hands and evidence mounting that she had indeed committed fraud, Ruiz was stripped of her title and Jacqueline Gareau was declared winner.

Poor Rosie has not had it easy since then. Immediately after the race she was fired from her job. In 1982 she was arrested for embezzling $60,000 dollars from a real estate company where she worked and spent 5 years on probation. Sometime later she was arrested for trying to sell cocaine to undercover agents in Florida. Her 1984 marriage ended in divorce after two years although she kept her married name and largely disappeared afterward. She surfaced again in a 2006 Game Show Network documentary where she claimed that she had turned down large advances from publishers who wanted her to write a book about her fraud. She couldn't accept the money she claimed because she had won the race fair and square and accepting money to write a book about how she cheated, why, that would be dishonest!

Queen for a day: Rosie Ruiz prepares to accept the gold medal for winning the 1980 Boston Marathon