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.
USSR over U.S., Basketball, Munich 1972
To this point, the U.S. basketball team had never lost an Olympic game. But one of America's youngest squads faced off against an experienced team of Russians and struggled before a furious comeback gave the U.S. what appeared to be a close win. Officials controversially added three seconds to the clock, giving Russia just enough time to make a basket and get the gold. The U.S. never claimed its silver medals.
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