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.
Rulon Gardner, Wrestling, Sydney 2000
Russian heavyweight Alexander Karelin was undefeated in 15 years of international grappling, with three gold medals and seven straight world titles. He hadn't allowed anyone to score a point against him in 10 years. Yet, Rulon Gardner, a dairy farmer from Wyoming, showed incredible resolve to pull off a staggering 1-0 win in one of the greatest individual upsets ever.
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