Play by the rules.

Cuban Tae Kwan Do fighter Angel Matos(Photo: JUNG YEON-JE, AFP, Getty Images)

At the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, China, Cuban Tae Kwan Do fighter Angel Matos kicked a referee in the face after being disqualified for a time-limit violation. He went on to punch another official and immediately received a lifetime ban from international competition.

At the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, American speed skater Apolo Ohno received a golden gift. South Korean Kim Dong-Sung violated the rules by cutting off another skater in the final turn, earning an immediate disqualification.

Controversy also touched the pole vaulting competition at the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow, Russia. After securing the gold, Polish vaulter Wladyslaw Kozakiewicz made an obscene gesture, which drew boos and hisses from the Soviet crowd. The gesture was a protest to Russian officials. He believed they opened a stadium door during his jumps, which disturbed wind flow and hampered his efforts. After the Games, the Soviet ambassador to Poland demanded that Kozakiewicz be stripped of his medal.

The official response of the Polish government was that Kozakiewicz's arm gesture had been an involuntary muscle spasm caused by his exertion -- but he almost lost his medal as a result.

Noel Zanchelli, a freelance writer living in Seattle, was a member of the 1989 U.S. Junior Olympic Cycling Team. His sports reports have been published on four continents.