The Greatest Sporting Upsets

Everyone loves an upset.That person or team that really doesn’t have a chance, and the bookmakers put at such high odds. Most of the time it always goes to form, but on occasions the form book gets completely ripped up! In ode of this, we've taken a look at some of the greatest sporting upsets of all time.

James ‘Buster’ Douglas

There was a time when you were considered lucky if you managed to make it to the second round against Mike Tyson. That time ended on Feb. 11, 1990 when he was shockingly knocked out by 42-1 underdog James "Buster" Douglas. Douglas, whose mother had died just 23 days before the fight, clearly went into this one with a heavy heart, and he left it a champion. This man is as close to a real-life Rocky Balboa as you'll see.

Wimbledon FC (1988 FA Cup)

People say the magic of the FA Cup is dead, but on the 14th May 1988 it was well and truly alive and kicking as massive favourites and current holders of the iconic cup, not to mention back to back league champions Liverpool took on a Wimbledon side who were a non league team just 11 years previous. Nobody expected an upset, but that’s just what they got as Lawrie Sanchez’s header coupled with the first ever cup final penalty save by Wimbledon keeper Dave Beasant, gave the ‘Crazy Gang’ their one and only piece of major silverware.

Steven Bradbury

Sometimes you need a bit of luck to pull off a massive shock, and sometimes you need a whole lorry load! Steve Bradbury had just that in the 1000m short track speed skating event in Salt Lake City in 2002 at the Winter Olympics. Having broken his neck at the previous games he wasn’t expected to make it out of the quarter finals, but disqualifications and fallers in the quarter and semi finals meant he found himself in the final. In the final itself he found himself last with one corner to go when unexpectedly all four opponents crashed out while jostling for the gold medal. This allowed the Australian to swoop in for the most unlikely victory in what is now probably the most watching piece of Winter Olympic history.


Even people who don’t bet tend to make an exception on Grand National Day, thinking they can back the winning horse, but very few people had their money on Foinavon (even including the owner of the horse) in the 1967 event culminating in odds of 100/1. These seemed to be realistic odds with the horse and rider John Buckingham very far back with 22 fences already jumped. However at the 23rd fence pandemonium ensued as two horses collided, and proceeded to bring down around 20 more. Buckingham and Foinavon were so far back they were able to navigate around the chaos, and claim the most unlikely victory in the history of horse racing.

US 1980 Ice Hockey Team

Dubbed the ‘Miracle On Ice’ in popular culture it featured The United States National Team made up of amateur and college players taking on the Soviet Union national team, which had won the gold medal in the previous four Olympic games, and was made up of many professional players with high quality. Despite being behind 3 times the US team scored twice in the final period and hung despite an onslaught for a famous victory, which was made all the more special with Al Michaels ‘Do you believe in miracles?’ commentary.

Boris Becker (Wimbledon 1985)

A 17-year-old unseeded outsider before the tournament began Becker became the youngest Wimbledon Champion of all time. To put it into perspective a 17-year-old hasn’t won so much as a first-round match at the iconic venue in the last 10 years let alone a Championship! He was playing South African Kevin Curran, who was a massive favourite having beaten the likes of Stefan Edberg, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors en route to the final, but the West German (as it was then) triumphed 3 sets to 1.