The world loves an underdog story. Why not? Seeing a team, or individual, beat astronomical odds to be crowned champion is a satisfying story. Though, the most impressive underdog stories aren’t in the movies. Instead, there are real life underdog tales that go beyond even what occurs in outrageous cinema.
Here are the underdog sporting upsets that are renowned as the greatest of all time.
Miracle On Ice
When talking about underdog victories, virtually everyone will eventually mention the so called Miracle On Ice. As the well-known tale goes, the underprepared, underqualified United States hockey team went up against the Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter Olympics. The average age of United States player was just 21, and not a single one was professional.
In the Soviet team the average age was 26, and each and every player was a professional champion. In fact, the team were defending their gold medal for the fourth time in a row.
Yes, the United States team won in the final 12 minutes, and that such an upset occurred really is a Miracle On Ice.
There is a veritable mountain of theories as to what happened in the match versus Buster Douglas and Mike Tyson. But most simply agree that Tyson didn’t take Douglas seriously, and did almost no training in the lead up to the match. Plus, Tyson was also walking around with an incredible ego, seeing himself as an unstoppable machine.
Either way, Douglas, who was supposed to be a warmup for Tyson’s ‘real’ match against Evander Holyfield, did what many thought was impossible. The relatively unknown Douglas knocked Tyson out for a win. It was the first knockout in Tyson’s history, but marked the beginning of the end of Iron Mike.
Douglas never regained another title, while Tyson would make a comeback, even if short lived.
The 1975 story of Rudy Ruettiger is perhaps one of the most heart-warming in the sports world. At 5 feet and 6 inches, weighing 165 pounds, and struggling with dyslexia, Rudy was not exactly college football material. But at age 26, he managed to get into Notre Dame College, after 4 previously failed attempts. He landed up getting a spot on the scout football team, but only as a reserve, never actually getting a chance to play for over 2 years. It was more or less accepted that he would never play, and mostly just settled into a position as an assistant.
But in 1975 fortune finally paid Rudy a visit; he got a chance to play in a game. He participated in just 3 plays, but during the last play sacked the quarterback of the opposing team. It was not a definitive moment in the game by any means, but was the only action Rudy had seen in 2 years, and would ever see in his college career.
Regardless, the Notre Dame football team gave him the celebration he deserved, carrying him off the field on their shoulders. It was the first time this had ever been done in the college’s football history.