There's something invigorating about watching an underdog rise, especially at the Olympic Games. Finding a way to beat the odds among the greatest athletes on the planet with all the nations' leaders watching is enough to get any audience giddy. "Upsets resonate in the Olympics because the games provide global stages for nations to play out socio-political struggles," says Mark Dyreson, Penn State kinesiology professor and Olympics expert. The biggest shockers at the Olympics frequently include two geopolitical rivals battling to the finish, but just as often they entail an individual rising up to earn a medal. In other cases, a bit of luck is on their side. Here are 10 of the greatest upsets in Olympic history.
Japan over U.S., Softball, Beijing 2008
The United States was so dominant in softball – winning some 22 straight Olympic contests – the International Olympic Committee decided to eliminate the sport from the Games. But in the last-ever Olympic softball contest, Japan did the unthinkable, hanging a 3-1 defeat on the powerful Americans.
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