The Top Ten Greatest Upsets of all Time
London's shocking win over Paris for the 2012 Olympics is being called one of the greatest upsets in sports history. That's more than a just little bit of hyperbole, but it did give me a good idea for a post. What are the ten greatest upsets (and not just in the sporting world)? Here's what I think:
10. Let's just get it out of the way right now. The very term "upset" was popularized back in 1919 when the horse Upset defeated the great Man O'War at Saratoga, "the Graveyard of Favorites".
9. Years from now, film fans will assume that "Saving Private Ryan" won a Best Picture Oscar. They'll be assuming wrong. Shockingly, that Oscar was won by the lightweight, if fun, "Shakespeare in Love". You forget about that movie 10 minutes after the end credits roll, but it's hard to forget the first half hour of "Saving Private Ryan".
8. Think about the bravery of those men who signed the Declaration of Independence. We, of course, know that the American Revolution succeeded, but they didn't know it at the time. If the Revolution was lost, they would have been hanged as traitors. And victory was never a sure thing, after all Britain was the superpower of her time. In 1776:
The outlook of the Continental Army — and thus the revolution itself — was bleak. "These are the times that try men's souls," wrote Thomas Paine, who was with the army on the retreat. The army had dwindled to fewer than 5,000 men fit for duty, and would be reduced to 1,400 after enlistments expired at the end of the year. Spirits were low, popular support was wavering, and Congress had abandoned Philadelphia in despair.
But somehow (and with a little help from Washington and the French) the Americans won the war. Thanks to them, we're not all speaking English ;-)
7. Before October of 1978, no one knew who the heck Karol Wojtyla was. But, in a huge upset, the papal conclave chose the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. To complete the surprise, John Paul II became one of the most famous and revered popes ever.
6. Moving into the realm of reality TV, I think it's only fair to list Zach's victory in the Amazing Race 3 (which, by the way, you can watch in repeats starting Monday the 11th on the Game Show Network). Zach was able to win the race, despite being handicapped with a 100 pound weight on his back named Flo. Flo, who is probably very nice in person, turned into a quitting, shrieking harpy on the Race. She cried. She flayed. She threated to quit. She whined. Oh lord, how she whined. But somehow, someway, Zach got them both to the finish line first.
5. Patrick Ewing's Georgetown Hoyas (what's a Hoya anyway? Is it like a Hodag?)were the defending NCAA basketball champs and were heavily favored over Villanova. But Villanova played a game for the ages. They shot an unbelievable 78.6% in the game to down Georgetown by 2 in a final for the ages.
4. While the Chicago Tribune was busy making newspaper history, Harry Truman was busy campaigning against a "do nothing Congress" and defeating Thomas Dewey in our greatest Presidential election upset. Given his stature now, it's hard to believe Truman came so close to losing. Good thing he wasn't a Republican, or may he really would have "lost".
3. When the mightly feared Spanish Armada was finally defeated, it wasn't a miracle. It was British seamanship, well, and maybe the weather too. In any case, Britain survived and Elizabeth's stirring words are those of a victor, not a vanquished queen:
I am come amongst you as you see, at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved in the midst and heat of the battle to live or die amongst you all, to lay down for my God and for my kingdom, and for my people, my honour and my blood, even in the dust.
I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too.
2. No list of great upsets is complete without a mention of David v. Goliath. With just a staff and five smooth stones, David felled the 9 1/2 foot tall Goliath. Just imagine what the guy could have done to Mike Tyson!
1. What could top David? Well, the boys in red, white and blue do. The men from CCCP were unbeatable, or so all the experts said. Well, the 1980 US Olympic Hockey team proved that we don't need no stinkin' experts. Sometimes sheer desire and youth can prevail. The hockey team even gave hope to an America that was beaten down by the malaise of the Carter years.
So, those are my greatest upsets of all time. Let the debate begin!
Posted by at July 6, 2005 10:44 PM
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|# July 8th, 2005 6:13 AM Daddy|
|Speaking of Tyson (#2), shouldn't Buster Douglas have made the list?
And why only TEN in this list of "10"? I'm sure Buster could've qualified as the 10/11th.