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  • Bill Chastain


The way sports are reported these days, the notion that the favorite always wins gets perpetuated weekly, daily, hourly right up until the games, matches, etc., are played and we find out that some of these world beaters were not quite as mighty as built up to be.

However, there have been favorites that deserved to be decided favorites and the teams/individuals they lost to were indeed heavy underdogs.

Here's my list of top five upsets that defied logic:

1. USA defeats USSR Hockey in the 1980 Winter Olympics.

2. USA Greco-Roman wrestler Rulon Gardner defeats Soviet heavyweight Alexander Karelin in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

3. Buster Douglas defeats Mike Tyson in 1990 for the heavyweight title.

4. Larry Owings beats undefeated, three-time NCAA champion Dan Gable at the 1970 NCAA wrestling tournament.

5. Soviet Union wins controversial gold over U.S. basketball team at 1972 Olympics.

My list might appear quirky, particularly since I have two wrestlers on it. But Gable had an amazing run through college while wrestling for Iowa State before losing in the finals of the NCAA Tournament to a sophomore from the University of Washington, and Karelin had been undefeated in 13 years of international wrestling — a real-life Ivan Drago.

The Soviet Union defeated the previously undefeated U.S.A. basketball team — commies beat capitalist at their own game. Then the capitalist reversed the tables by beating the commies at their game via the Miracle on Ice.

Finally, when Douglas defeated Tyson for the championship, Tyson appeared unbeatable, dangerous, and talented.

Plenty of other upsets have occurred, obviously. I’d love to hear your list.

I invite you to hang out with me on my site at and read more of my blogs. You can also download FREE chapters from one of my novels: Peachtree Corvette Club, The Streak and Retrouvailles. Drop me a line at Asked and Answered. Let's talk about feel-good stories, fun facts, movies, food and, of course, two of my very favorite topics: sports and books. Whatever is on your mind.

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