Public Figures Who Lie About Sports Achievements

September 13, 2012

Recently a vice-presidential candidate was caught in a lie.

This is probably not newsworthy, but what's interesting is what he lied about. According to The New York Times, "Representative Paul D. Ryan has taken back his claim that he had run a marathon in under three hours, an assertion that had drawn great skepticism in the running community and one that came after his convention speech faced scrutiny for some questionable and misleading statements. Mr. Ryan issued a statement that was published over the weekend by The New Yorker magazine and Runners' World clarifying his marathon performance: "The race was more than 20 years ago, but my brother Tobin-who ran Boston last year-reminds me that he is the owner of the fastest marathon in the family and has never himself ran a sub-three. If I were to do any rounding, it would certainly be to four hours, not three. He gave me a good ribbing over this at dinner tonight."... Mr. Ryan is known for his dedicated physical fitness regimen. But as serious runners know, a marathon run under three hours is quite a feat, and requires a pace of under 7 minutes a mile for the whole race, as The Los Angeles Times pointed out."

Of course Ryan isn't the only public figure to exaggerate his physical prowess. In 2006 Pat Robertson claimed to be able to leg press 2,000 pounds. According to Alex Boese of the Museum of Hoaxes web site, this is a description of how it happened:

Pat Robertson worked out at the gym on an incline leg press machine with weights up to 570 pounds. Working with his physician, who was an amazing strength trainer, he worked up to 800 pounds, then 1,000 pounds. Then one day he was able to leg press 1,500 pounds one time. Then over the succeeding months, he trained with multiple reps of 1,200 pounds, 1,300 pounds, and 1,400 pounds. One Saturday morning, his physician said, "I'll get you bragging rights. Let's go to 2,000 pounds." Then he worked up multiple reps of 1,400 pounds, 1,500 pounds, 1,600 pounds, 1,700, pounds, 1,800 pounds and 1,900 pounds. When 2,000 pounds was put on the machine two men got on either side and helped push the load up, and then let it down on Mr. Robertson, who pushed it up one rep and let it go back down again.

Politicians, like fishermen, are known for fudging facts and stretching the truth. As for Robertson, perhaps he was aided by God's hand, or it was his special, age-defying protein shake.

Or maybe he's just a liar.