If Cheating Were An Olympic Sport, China Would Take The Gold

A third of runners in the top 100 of a Chinese marathon were found to have cheated. Hiring impostors, hitching rides in cars — anything to better their chances of getting into college.

Thirty runners have been disqualified after the Xiamen Marathon, held earlier this month. Organizers caught them after going through video footage, and found some of them hopping into vehicles midway through the race. Some chose to hire professional runners to assume their identity. And then there's this:

[O]thers gave their time-recording microchips to faster runners. Numbers 8,892 and 8,897 both recorded good times - but only thanks to number 8,900, who carried their sensors across the finish line.

So why the overwhelming temptation to cheat? This isn't like American marathons, with only a free pasta dinner and an aluminum foil blanket at stake. No, the Xiamen Marathon could decide their very futures.

Finishing the race in under 2:34 adds valuable points to their scores on the gaokao, the all-important entrance exam that decides if they get in to the most prestigious universities, or even a university at all. So can you really blame them?

Also, cheating by driving? That's so Rosie Ruiz. But I guess it's not as if they could have Googled it.

Cheaters caught on tape [AFP]