The underdog story is the stuff that movies are made of. I remember watching the movie Cool Runnings when I was a youngster and said to myself i wish that was me, the Jamaican bobsleigh team competing at winter Olympics,yet there has never been an ounce of snow in Kingston. This made me want to reach for the unreachable,do the impossible. This inspired me as well to do this list of the most brilliant underdog triumphs in history.These athletes had been written off but pundits and fans alike. But they left many with eggs on their faces.
10.The 1980 US ICE HOCKEY OLYMPIC TEAM
Their gold medal win in the 1980 Winter Olympics was dubbed the miracle on ice.The US team was up against the all conquering Soviet Union who had won 5 of the last 6 Golds and were heavily tipped to win. The US comprised of mostly college students with no NHL experience and had surprised many by reaching the medal rounds dispatching Czechoslovakia along the way. They got a congratulatory call from the president right after the match which must have been something
Miracle on ice
9.1994 ZAMBIAN NATIONAL SOCCER TEAM
Tragedy struck the African continent when the plane carrying the national soccer team of Zambia went down just off the coast of Gabon in April 1993. They were on their way to Senegal for a world cup qualifying match.All 25 passengers,players,technical crew and officials and 5 airplane crew perished.Zambian legend Kalusha Bwalya missed the flight by freakishly arranging to travel directly to Dakar from Holland. This Zambian side were tipped to be the best African team at the Africa cup of nations in 1994 but that seemed to have gone with that plane in Gabon. Miraculously Zambia reached the final of AFCON the following year against all odds with a completely new team only to be beaten by Nigeria in the final.
8.GORAN IVANISEVIC WINS WIMBLEDON 2001
He was a wild card at that year’s Wimbledon.He was not even supposed to be playing. Being beaten twice before in the final might have led to lesser tennis players giving up on the crown but not this Croatian. He faced Patrick Rafter in an epic final becoming the first wild card to win Wimbledon.
7.LANCE ARMSTRONG WINS TOUR DE FRANCE 1999
Despite tainting his legacy with doping,his heroic comeback from testicular cancer deserves mention.
6.1992 DENMARK NATIONAL SOCCER TEAM EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Danes had only been playing in that tournament because of the disqualification of Yugoslavia due to political turmoil. They were not given a chance against Germany in the final even though they had dispatched the defending champions Holland en route.
5.Leicester City 2016
Despite being odds on to be relegated that season having survived only just, Leicester City went on to win the premiership title powered by goals from Jamie Vardy ably assisted by one Danny Drinkwater.
4.KURT ANGLE 1996 OLYMPIC GAMES
The story goes as follows. Angle suffered a neck injury during Olympic Trials wrestling. He fractured his vertebrae,herniated a disk and pulled 4 muscles. He nevertheless won the trials and spent 5 months rehabbing. Against the doctor’s advice of permanent disability,he competed in the finals and won the gold. His determination to play through the pain has made a fan out of me even through to his WWE days. HE DOES NOT SUCK AT ALL.
3.JESSE OWENS 1936 OLYMPICS BERLIN
How racist ,antisemitic Nazi Germany won the right to host the Olympics is beyond me. But one athlete of colour rose up against all that to show the world that race has nothing to do with being a winner. It takes attitude,mentality and hard work.
2.ICELAND 2016 EUROPEANS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Scandinavians really know how to shake things up dont they? Iceland with a population of 340 000 reached the quarterfinals of the Euro 2016 championships beating England along the way for good measure.
1.GREECE EURO 2004
Greece had never won a tournament prior to these championships.They were impressive on their way to the crown beating Christiano Ronaldo’s Portugal twice and Czech Republic.