Worst Year Ever: Top 10 Losers in 2012

These people, places, and things would love to leave 2012 in the dust.

By SHARE

For a select few, the clock can't signal the start of 2013 soon enough. Whether it was a scandal, bad business, or terrible decision-making, the following list is filled with those that won't be sorry to leave 2012 in the rear-view mirror.

LANCE ARMSTRONG

Lance Armstrong jokes with reporters after his second-place finish in the Power of Four mountain bicycle race at the base of Aspen Mountain in Aspen, Colo., on Aug. 25, 2012. (David Zalubowski/AP)

Up until late 2012, not only could Lance Armstrong be considered one of the greatest athletes in U.S. history, he was one of the biggest names raising money and awareness for victimsof cancer. Over the course of a decade, many claimed that Armstrong had cheated his way to his seven Tour De France titles, a charge he repeatedly denied, pointing to a long list of passed drug tests.

That all vanished in October, when the U.S. Anti Doping Agency released a 1,000 page report detailing a vast and sophisticated blood doping scheme that allowed Armstrong to dominate his sport over the course of nearly a decade.

Armstrong was subsequently stripped of his titles, banned from competitive cycling, released from his multiple endorsement deals, and forced to step down as chairman of his charitable organization.

JAMIE DIMON

If the nation's financial system has been performing a high-wire act over the course of the past few years, Jamie Dimon was the guy who came perilously close to slipping off the rope.

In May, the CEO of JPMorganChase revealed to the public that his bank lost nearly $2 billion, mainly due to the actions of a rogue trader that bet big on credit default swaps, a strategy that was supposed to "hedge" risk, but instead inflated it.

Shortly after the bad trades were revealed, Dimon owned up to his bank's massive error, calling the trades, "flawed, complex, poorly reviewed, and poorly executed." It may have been a smart PR move, but it didn't stop the bleeding: revised estimates in July estimated JPMorgan's loss to be nearly $6 billion.

If things weren't bad enough, Dimon's bank was then slapped with subpoenas from four different countries in August, stemming from the investigations into the global manipulation of the LIBOR rates, a scandal that is considered to be among the biggest in banking history.

PENN STATE UNIVERSITY

In this Oct. 9, 2012 file photo, former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is taken from the Centre County Courthouse after being sentenced in Bellefonte, Pa. (Matt Rourke/AP)

The wounds of 2011 were exacerbated over the course of 2012 for Penn State University, which saw the punitive fallout of the Jerry Sandusky abuse scandal play out over the course of the year.

The year started out on a somber note, with longtime football coach Joe Paterno passing away from lung cancer in January. Paterno, who had been let go after the abuse allegations came to light in Nov. 2011, was further disgraced when an independent report led by former FBI Director Louis Freeh found that Paterno, along with a number of high-ranking Penn State officials, showed "total disregard" for Sandusky's victims over the course of nearly 15 years.

The findings of the Freeh Report led the NCAA to issue crippling sanctions on Penn State's football program, heavily reducing the number of football scholarships over a four-year period and leveling the school a $60 million fine.

Even as Sandusky was sentenced to jail for the rest of his life in October, the fallout continues to unfold. Two ex-Penn State officials are currently awaiting trial stemming from perjury charges related to the case, and two separate investigations are being conducted by the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Department of Education, looking into whether the university violated federal law by not properly responding to Sandusky's crimes.

JASON RUSSELL

At the start of 2012, there were very few people in America who could give you detailed information on any of the following subjects: the Lord's Resistance Army and its leader, Joseph Kony, and the non-profit group Invisible Children and its co-founder, Jason Russell.

That all changed—and rather quickly—in March. Russell's non-profit released a video on YouTube, entitled KONY 2012, that chronicled Joseph Kony, leader of a guerrilla army that has clashed with the Ugandan military and forced thousands of children to fight in its battles or be killed.

The video, which was viewed over 35 million times over the course of five days, was met with a fierce backlash. From calls that Invisible Children was commodifying human rights violations, to critics who claimed the video did not focus on the true problem, the reaction to KONY 2012 ground Russell's campaign to a halt.