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.
U.S. over USSR, Hockey, Lake Placid 1980
The most famous hockey game ever wasn't for the gold, but it still ranks at the top. The Russian team was filled with hard-bitten Red Army veterans who dominated the sport, while the U.S. squad was a ragtag collection of college kids. The game wasn't even shown live, but after Mike Eruzione gave the U.S. a 4-3 triumph, the Miracle on Ice became the greatest upset in the history of sports.
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