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.
Steven Bradbury, Speedskating, Salt Lake City 2002
The Southern Hemisphere doesn't produce many Winter Olympics success stories, but Bradbury became the first to win gold due to one of the most legendary pileups in speedskating history. Favorite Apolo Ohno was caught up in a spill that took out four of the five racers, leaving Bradbury as the last man standing, and the Aussie took advantage to earn the victory.
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