Underdog (competition)
An underdog is a person or group in a competition
Competition is a contest between individuals, groups, animals, etc. for territory, a niche, or a location of resources. It arises whenever two and only two strive for a goal which cannot be shared. Competition occurs naturally between living organisms which co-exist in the same environment. For...

, frequently in electoral politics
An election is a formal decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy operates since the 17th century. Elections may fill offices in the legislature, sometimes in the...

, sports and creative work
Creative work
A creative work is a tangible manifestation of creative effort such as literature, music, paintings, and software. Creative works have in common a degree of arbitrariness, such that it is improbable that two people would independently create the same work. Creative works are part of property...

s, who is popularly expected to lose. The party, team or individual expected to win is called the favo(u)rite or top dog. In the rare case where an underdog wins, the outcome is an upset
An upset occurs in a competition, frequently in electoral politics or sports, when the party popularly expected to win , is defeated by an underdog whom the majority expects to lose, defying the conventional wisdom...

. These terms are commonly used in sports betting. The use of the term is believed to have come from the job of plank making where the lower saw-pit worker was called the underdog as they were underneath the metal brackets (dogs) which held the log in place.


  • King Sudas
    Sudās was a king in the Rig Veda. His name means "worshipping well", an s-stem, either from a root dās, or with the extra s added to avoid an archaic root noun in ā, Sudā-, which would easily be mistaken for a feminine name....

     defeated the ten Rigvedic tribes
    Rigvedic tribes
    The Indo-Aryan tribes mentioned in the Rigveda are described as semi-nomadic pastoralists; when not on the move, they were subdivided into temporary settlements . They were headed by a tribal chief assisted by a priestly caste...

     during the Battle of the Ten Kings
    Battle of the Ten Kings
    Battle of the Ten Kings is a battle alluded to in Mandala 7 of the Rigveda , the ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns. It is a battle between Aryans...

  • The Greek
    Ancient Greece
    Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

     states successfully repelled the mighty Achaemenid
    Achaemenid Empire
    The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

     Persian Empire at the Battle of Salamis
    Battle of Salamis
    The Battle of Salamis was fought between an Alliance of Greek city-states and the Persian Empire in September 480 BCE, in the straits between the mainland and Salamis, an island in the Saronic Gulf near Athens...

  • Alexander the Great beat Darius III when he was greatly outnumbered.
  • The people of Rhodes
    Rhodes is an island in Greece, located in the eastern Aegean Sea. It is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of both land area and population, with a population of 117,007, and also the island group's historical capital. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within...

     in resisting the siege imposed by King Demetrius I of Macedon
    Demetrius I of Macedon
    Demetrius I , called Poliorcetes , son of Antigonus I Monophthalmus and Stratonice, was a king of Macedon...

  • Hannibal defeated the numerically superior Roman
    Roman Republic
    The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

     forces at the Battle of Cannae
    Battle of Cannae
    The Battle of Cannae was a major battle of the Second Punic War, which took place on August 2, 216 BC near the town of Cannae in Apulia in southeast Italy. The army of Carthage under Hannibal decisively defeated a numerically superior army of the Roman Republic under command of the consuls Lucius...

     during the Second Punic War
    Second Punic War
    The Second Punic War, also referred to as The Hannibalic War and The War Against Hannibal, lasted from 218 to 201 BC and involved combatants in the western and eastern Mediterranean. This was the second major war between Carthage and the Roman Republic, with the participation of the Berbers on...

  • The Parthia
    Parthia is a region of north-eastern Iran, best known for having been the political and cultural base of the Arsacid dynasty, rulers of the Parthian Empire....

    ns, who were outnumbered four to one, defeated the Romans
    Roman Republic
    The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

     at the Battle of Carrhae
    Battle of Carrhae
    The Battle of Carrhae, fought in 53 BC near the town of Carrhae, was a major battle between the Parthian Empire and the Roman Republic. The Parthian Spahbod Surena decisively defeated a Roman invasion force led by Marcus Licinius Crassus...

  • The Arab army
    Rashidun army
    The Rashidun Caliphate Army or Rashidun army was the primary military body of the Rashidun Caliphate's armed forces during the Muslim conquests of the 7th century, serving alongside the Rashidun Navy...

     led by Khalid ibn al-Walid
    Khalid ibn al-Walid
    Khālid ibn al-Walīd also known as Sayf Allāh al-Maslūl , was a companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He is noted for his military tactics and prowess, commanding the forces of Medina and those of his immediate successors of the Rashidun Caliphate; Abu Bakr and Umar...

     defeated the numerically superior forces of the powerful Persian
    Sassanid Empire
    The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

     and Roman empires
    Byzantine Empire
    The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

     during their conquest of Persia
    Islamic conquest of Persia
    The Muslim conquest of Persia led to the end of the Sassanid Empire in 644, the fall of Sassanid dynasty in 651 and the eventual decline of the Zoroastrian religion in Persia...

     and conquest of Roman Syria
    Muslim conquest of Syria
    The Muslim conquest of Syria occurred in the first half of the 7th century, and refers to the region known as the Bilad al-Sham, the Levant, or Greater Syria...

  • In 209 AD, in the Three Kingdoms
    Three Kingdoms
    The Three Kingdoms period was a period in Chinese history, part of an era of disunity called the "Six Dynasties" following immediately the loss of de facto power of the Han Dynasty rulers. In a strict academic sense it refers to the period between the foundation of the state of Wei in 220 and the...

     era of China
    Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

     at the Battle of Red Cliffs
    Battle of Red Cliffs
    The Battle of Red Cliffs, otherwise known as the Battle of Chibi, was a decisive battle at the end of the Han Dynasty, immediately prior to the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history. It was fought in the winter of 208/9 AD between the allied forces of the southern warlords Liu Bei and Sun Quan...

    , the combined 50,000 forces of Sun Quan
    Sun Quan
    Sun Quan , son of Sun Jian, formally Emperor Da of Wu, was the founder of Eastern Wu during the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history. He ruled from 222 to 229 as King of Wu and from 229 to 252 as Emperor of Wu....

     and Liu Bei
    Liu Bei
    Liu Bei , also known as Liu Xuande, was a warlord, military general and later the founding emperor of the state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms era of Chinese history...

     were able to defeat the overwhelming 220,000+ forces of Cao Cao
    Cao Cao
    Cao Cao was a warlord and the penultimate chancellor of the Eastern Han Dynasty who rose to great power during the dynasty's final years. As one of the central figures of the Three Kingdoms period, he laid the foundations for what was to become the state of Cao Wei and was posthumously titled...

  • The Scottish army of Robert the Bruce
    Robert I of Scotland
    Robert I , popularly known as Robert the Bruce , was King of Scots from March 25, 1306, until his death in 1329.His paternal ancestors were of Scoto-Norman heritage , and...

    , outnumbered almost three to one, defeated the English force of Edward II
    Edward II of England
    Edward II , called Edward of Caernarfon, was King of England from 1307 until he was deposed by his wife Isabella in January 1327. He was the sixth Plantagenet king, in a line that began with the reign of Henry II...

     at the Battle of Bannockburn
    Battle of Bannockburn
    The Battle of Bannockburn was a significant Scottish victory in the Wars of Scottish Independence...

  • The Battle of Puebla
    Battle of Puebla
    The Battle of Puebla took place on 5 May 1862 near the city of Puebla during the French intervention in Mexico. The battle ended in a victory for the Mexican Army over the occupying French forces...

     in May 5, 1862, where Mexican forces defeated the more prepared French army in the Franco-Mexican War
    French intervention in Mexico
    The French intervention in Mexico , also known as The Maximilian Affair, War of the French Intervention, and The Franco-Mexican War, was an invasion of Mexico by an expeditionary force sent by the Second French Empire, supported in the beginning by the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Spain...

  • The Hussites in Bohemia defeated several anti-Hussite crusades and foreign invaders (1420–1434) who significantly outnumbered them
  • The Knights Hospitaller
    Knights Hospitaller
    The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta , also known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta , Order of Malta or Knights of Malta, is a Roman Catholic lay religious order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature. It is the world's...

     triumphed against the overwhelming Ottoman
    Ottoman Empire
    The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

     forces during the Great Siege of Malta.
  • Genghis khan
    Genghis Khan
    Genghis Khan , born Temujin and occasionally known by his temple name Taizu , was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death....

     beat many opponents greatly outnumbered on all occasions
  • In the 1552 siege of Eger
    Siege of Eger
    The Siege of Eger occurred during the 16th century Ottoman Wars in Europe. It was a major Hungarian victory after a series of crushing defeats at the hands of Ottoman forces and checked the Ottoman expansion into both Central Europe and Eastern Europe....

    , 2,100 Hungarians
    Royal Hungary
    The Kingdom of Hungary between 1538 and 1867 was part of the lands of the Habsburg Monarchy, while outside the Holy Roman Empire.After Battle of Mohács, the country was ruled by two crowned kings . They divided the kingdom in 1538...

     were able to withstand the onslaught of 80,000 Ottoman
    Ottoman Empire
    The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

  • The defending British fleet was victorious over the "invincible" Spanish Armada
    Spanish Armada
    This article refers to the Battle of Gravelines, for the modern navy of Spain, see Spanish NavyThe Spanish Armada was the Spanish fleet that sailed against England under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia in 1588, with the intention of overthrowing Elizabeth I of England to stop English...

     in June 1588.
  • The Royal Air Force
    Royal Air Force
    The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

     beat the Luftwaffe
    Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

     during the Battle of Britain
    Battle of Britain
    The Battle of Britain is the name given to the World War II air campaign waged by the German Air Force against the United Kingdom during the summer and autumn of 1940...

     (1940) despite being largely outnumbered, thanks to the use of radar
    Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio...

  • Finland
    Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

     held out against the Soviet Union during the Winter War
    Winter War
    The Winter War was a military conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland. It began with a Soviet offensive on 30 November 1939 – three months after the start of World War II and the Soviet invasion of Poland – and ended on 13 March 1940 with the Moscow Peace Treaty...

  • The Viet Minh
    Viet Minh
    Việt Minh was a national independence coalition formed at Pac Bo on May 19, 1941. The Việt Minh initially formed to seek independence for Vietnam from the French Empire. When the Japanese occupation began, the Việt Minh opposed Japan with support from the United States and the Republic of China...

     triumphed over French colonial forces in the Indochina War while the NLF + North Vietnam
    North Vietnam
    The Democratic Republic of Vietnam , was a communist state that ruled the northern half of Vietnam from 1954 until 1976 following the Geneva Conference and laid claim to all of Vietnam from 1945 to 1954 during the First Indochina War, during which they controlled pockets of territory throughout...

     eroded, exhausted and ultimately outlasted the United States and South Vietnam
    South Vietnam
    South Vietnam was a state which governed southern Vietnam until 1975. It received international recognition in 1950 as the "State of Vietnam" and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" . Its capital was Saigon...

     in the Vietnam War
    Vietnam War
    The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

  • Afghanistan
    Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

     successfully repelled an invasion by the USSR
    Soviet Union
    The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

     during the Soviet war in Afghanistan
    Soviet war in Afghanistan
    The Soviet war in Afghanistan was a nine-year conflict involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist-Leninist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan against the Afghan Mujahideen and foreign "Arab–Afghan" volunteers...

     in the 1980s.
  • Attorney Clarence Darrow
    Clarence Darrow
    Clarence Seward Darrow was an American lawyer and leading member of the American Civil Liberties Union, best known for defending teenage thrill killers Leopold and Loeb in their trial for murdering 14-year-old Robert "Bobby" Franks and defending John T...

     made a famous career in successfully defending several famous and disadvantaged criminal defendants in court.
  • The Battle of Aljubarrota
    Battle of Aljubarrota
    The Battle of Aljubarrota was a battle fought between the Kingdom of Portugal and the Crown of Castile on 14 August 1385. Forces commanded by King John I of Portugal and his general Nuno Álvares Pereira, with the support of English allies, opposed the army of King John I of Castile with its...

     that took place on August 14, 1385, 6,500 Portuguese troops defeated the invading Spanish army of 31,000 men.
  • The Battle of Myeongnyang
    Battle of Myeongnyang
    In the Battle of Myeongnyang, on October 26, 1597, the Joseon admiral Yi Sun-sin fought the Japanese navy in the Myeongnyang Strait, near Jindo Island. With only the 13 ships remaining from Won Gyun's disastrous defeat at the Battle of Chilchonryang, Admiral Yi Sunsin held the strait against a...

     that took place on October 26, 1597. With only 13 battleships, Korean general Yi Sun Shin defeated a Japanese fleet of 133 battleships.
  • The biblical battle between David and Goliath

American politics

  • U.S. President
    President of the United States
    The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

     Harry Truman in the 1948 presidential election.
  • Minnesota
    Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

     Senator Paul Wellstone
    Paul Wellstone
    Paul David Wellstone was a two-term U.S. Senator from the state of Minnesota and member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, which is affiliated with the national Democratic Party. Before being elected to the Senate in 1990, he was a professor of political science at Carleton College...

     in 1990.
  • Wisconsin
    Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

    United States Senate
    The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

     Russ Feingold
    Russ Feingold
    Russell Dana "Russ" Feingold is an American politician from the U.S. state of Wisconsin. He served as a Democratic party member of the U.S. Senate from 1993 to 2011. From 1983 to 1993, Feingold was a Wisconsin State Senator representing the 27th District.He is a recipient of the John F...

     in 1992.
  • Tennessee
    Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

     Senator Bill Frist
    Bill Frist
    William Harrison "Bill" Frist, Sr. is an American physician, businessman, and politician. He began his career as an heir and major stockholder to the for-profit hospital chain of Hospital Corporation of America. Frist later served two terms as a Republican United States Senator representing...

     in 1994.
  • Minnesota Governor
    Governor of Minnesota
    The Governor of Minnesota is the chief executive of the U.S. state of Minnesota, leading the state's executive branch. Forty different people have been governors of the state, though historically there were also three governors of Minnesota Territory. Alexander Ramsey, the first territorial...

     Jesse Ventura
    Jesse Ventura
    James George Janos , better known as Jesse Ventura, is an American politician, the 38th Governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003, Navy UDT veteran, former SEAL reservist, actor, and former radio and television talk show host...

     in 1998.


  • In 1921 in American college football
    College football
    College football refers to American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities...

    , Centre College defeated Harvard
    1921 Centre vs. Harvard football game
    The 1921 Centre vs. Harvard football game, played October 29, 1921, was a college football game between Centre College and Harvard University. Centre beat Harvard 6–0 in the game, in what is widely considered one of the greatest upsets in college football history.-The prequel:The teams first met...

    , the defending national champions, 6–0. The Associated Press called it the greatest sports upset in the first-half of the 20th century.

  • In 1935, boxer James J. Braddock
    James J. Braddock
    James Walter "The Cinderella Man" Braddock was an American boxer who was the world heavyweight champion from 1935 to 1937....

     ("Cinderella Man
    Cinderella Man
    Cinderella Man is a 2005 American drama film by Ron Howard, titled after the nickname of heavyweight boxing champion James J. Braddock and inspired by his life story. The film was produced by Howard, Penny Marshall, and Brian Grazer.-Plot:James J...

    ") defeated heavyweight champion Max Baer as the 10-to-1 underdog in a major upset.

  • On July 16, 1950, during the 1950 FIFA World Cup
    1950 FIFA World Cup
    The 1950 FIFA World Cup, held in Brazil from 24 June to 16 July, was the fourth FIFA World Cup. It was the first World Cup since 1938, the planned 1942 and 1946 competitions having been canceled owing to World War II...

     final in Brazil
    Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

    , Uruguay
    Uruguay national football team
    The Uruguayan national football team represents Uruguay in international association football and is controlled by the Uruguayan Football Association, the governing body for football in Uruguay. The current head coach is Óscar Tabárez...

     defeated the highest ranked team in the world and seemingly certain winners, Brazil
    Brazil national football team
    The Brazil national football team represents Brazil in international men's football and is controlled by the Brazilian Football Confederation , the governing body for football in Brazil. They are a member of the International Federation of Association Football since 1923 and also a member of the...

    , 2-1 to win the tournament in one of the greatest upsets ever in Brazilian football history. Another upset in the tournament was the USA
    United States men's national soccer team
    The United States men's national soccer team represents the United States in international association football competitions. It is controlled by the United States Soccer Federation and competes in CONCACAF...

     victory over the highly-ranked England
    England national football team
    The England national football team represents England in association football and is controlled by the Football Association, the governing body for football in England. England is the joint oldest national football team in the world, alongside Scotland, whom they played in the world's first...

    , 1-0
    England v United States (1950)
    On 29 June 1950, at the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the United States defeated England 1–0 in a group match. This unexpected result has led to the match being described as the "Miracle on Grass", in reference to the 1980 Miracle on Ice, in which the US ice hockey team beat the Soviet Union. The...


  • In the 1954 FIFA World Cup
    1954 FIFA World Cup
    The 1954 FIFA World Cup, the fifth staging of the FIFA World Cup, was held in Switzerland from 16 June to 4 July. Switzerland was chosen as hosts in July 1946. The tournament set a number of all-time records for goal-scoring, including the highest average goals scored per game...

    , Germany
    Germany national football team
    The Germany national football team is the football team that has represented Germany in international competition since 1908. It is governed by the German Football Association , which was founded in 1900....

     defeated Hungary
    Hungary national football team
    The Hungary national football team represents Hungary in international football and is controlled by the Hungarian Football Federation....

     3-2 from 2-0 down to win the final. The amazing upset is called the Miracle of Bern
    1954 FIFA World Cup Final
    - External links :* - fifa.com, FIFA, 2002.*...

    . Hungary's Golden Team had dominated the sport for several years in the 1950s, including beating the Germans 8-3 in the first round of the tournament. The final was their first and only defeat during that period.

  • In Super Bowl III
    Super Bowl III
    Super Bowl III was the third AFL-NFL Championship Game in professional American football, but the first to officially bear the name "Super Bowl". This game is regarded as one of the greatest upsets in sports history...

    , the New York Jets
    New York Jets
    The New York Jets are a professional football team headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, representing the New York metropolitan area. The team is a member of the Eastern Division of the American Football Conference in the National Football League...

    , led by quarterback Joe Namath
    Joe Namath
    Joseph William "Joe" Namath , nicknamed "Broadway Joe" or "Joe Willie", is a former American football quarterback. He played college football for the University of Alabama under coach Paul "Bear" Bryant and his assistant, Howard Schnellenberger, from 1962–1964, and professional football in the...

    , defeated the heavily-favored Baltimore Colts
    History of the Indianapolis Colts
    The Indianapolis Colts are a professional football team based in Indianapolis, Indiana. They play in the AFC South division of the National Football League. They have won 3 NFL championships and 2 Super Bowls....

     16-7 after giving a "guarantee" to do so.

  • In 1963 lowly Newport RFC beat the All Blacks – the only defeat of their 36 match tour.

  • In the 1964 Ali versus Liston and 1974 Rumble in the Jungle
    The Rumble in the Jungle
    The Rumble in the Jungle was a historic boxing event that took place on October 30, 1974, in the Mai 20 Stadium in Kinshasa, Zaire . It pitted then world Heavyweight champion George Foreman against former world champion and challenger Muhammad Ali...

     fights, boxer Muhammad Ali
    Muhammad Ali
    Muhammad Ali is an American former professional boxer, philanthropist and social activist...

     was expected to lose against Sonny Liston
    Sonny Liston
    Charles L. "Sonny" Liston was a professional boxer and ex-convict known for his toughness, punching power, and intimidating appearance who became world heavyweight champion in 1962 by knocking out Floyd Patterson in the first round...

     and George Foreman
    George Foreman
    George Edward Foreman is an American two-time former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Olympic gold medalist, ordained Baptist minister, author and successful entrepreneur...

     respectively, who were both formerly undefeated hard-punching heavyweight champions. Ali defeated them in major upsets. In 1975, underdog Chuck Wepner
    Chuck Wepner
    Charles "Chuck" Wepner is a former heavyweight boxer from Bayonne, New Jersey. As a tough but journeyman boxer he went 15 rounds with world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali in a 1975 fight. Wepner is credited as the inspiration for Rocky Balboa. Wepner also appeared in the book Operation Bullpen...

     almost went the distance
    The distance (boxing)
    The distance, in boxing, refers to the full number of rounds in boxing matches. It is frequently used in the expression "going the distance," which means fighting a full bout without being knocked out...

     with Ali, which was later the main inspiration for the fictional character of Rocky Balboa
    Rocky Balboa (character)
    Robert "Rocky" Balboa, Sr. is a fictional character and the main protagonist portrayed by Sylvester Stallone who has appeared in the Rocky series from 1976 to 2006. During the series, he wins the Heavyweight Championship of the World twice....

     in the films Rocky
    Rocky is a 1976 American sports drama film directed by John G. Avildsen and both written by and starring Sylvester Stallone. It tells the rags to riches American Dream story of Rocky Balboa, an uneducated but kind-hearted debt collector for a loan shark in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania...

    (1976) and Rocky II
    Rocky II
    Rocky II is a 1979 American film that is the sequel to Rocky, a motion picture in which an unknown boxer had been given a chance to go the distance with the World Heavyweight Champion. Sylvester Stallone, Carl Weathers, Tony Burton, Burgess Meredith, Burt Young and Talia Shire reprised their...


  • In the 1969 World Series
    1969 World Series
    The 1969 World Series was played between the New York Mets and the Baltimore Orioles, with the Mets prevailing in five games to accomplish one of the greatest upsets in Series history, as that particular Orioles squad was considered to be one of the finest ever...

     the New York Mets
    New York Mets
    The New York Mets are a professional baseball team based in the borough of Queens in New York City, New York. They belong to Major League Baseball's National League East Division. One of baseball's first expansion teams, the Mets were founded in 1962 to replace New York's departed National League...

     won in five games over the Baltimore Orioles
    Baltimore Orioles
    The Baltimore Orioles are a professional baseball team based in Baltimore, Maryland in the United States. They are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's American League. One of the American League's eight charter franchises in 1901, it spent its first year as a major league...

    . The Mets had never finished higher than ninth place (next to last) nor won more than 73 games in a season since entering the National League
    National League
    The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, known simply as the National League , is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball, and the world's oldest extant professional team sports league. Founded on February 2, 1876, to replace the National Association of Professional...

     in 1962. This earned them the nickname "The Miracle Mets."

  • In 1980, the United States hockey team, consisting of amateurs and college players, defeated the Olympic hockey superpower, the Soviet Union. The amazing upset was called the "Miracle on Ice
    Miracle on Ice
    The "Miracle on Ice" is the name in American popular culture for a medal-round men's ice hockey game during the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, New York, on Friday, February 22...


  • In 1978, Irish provincial rugby union
    Rugby union
    Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

     team, Munster
    Munster Rugby
    Munster Rugby is an Irish professional rugby union team based in Munster, that competes in the RaboDirect Pro12 and Heineken Cup.The team represents the Irish Rugby Football Union Munster Branch which is one of four primary branches of the IRFU, and is responsible for rugby union in the Irish...

    , defeated the touring New Zealand All Blacks
    All Blacks
    The New Zealand men's national rugby union team, known as the All Blacks, represent New Zealand in what is regarded as its national sport....

     by 12 points to nil. The game was later turned into a stage play, Alone it Stands
    Alone it Stands
    Alone It Stands is a play by John Breen that tells the story of the 1978 rugby union match at Thomond Park between Irish provincial side Munster and the New Zealand national team, the All Blacks...


  • In 1985, 8th-seeded Villanova
    Villanova Wildcats men's basketball
    This is the article about the men's basketball team from Villanova University. The team has competed since the 1920–21 season. Nicknamed the "Wildcats", Villanova is a member of the Big East Conference and the Philadelphia Big Five. The Villanova Wildcats have appeared in the NCAA...

     defeated top-seeded and defending champion Georgetown in the championship game of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament
    1985 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament
    The 1985 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament involved 64 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of men's NCAA Division I college basketball. This was the first year the field was expanded to 64 teams, from 53 in the previous year's tournament. It began...


  • In 1992, driver/owner Alan Kulwicki
    Alan Kulwicki
    Alan Dennis Kulwicki , nicknamed "Special K" and the "Polish Prince", was an American NASCAR Winston Cup Series racecar driver. He started racing at local short tracks in Wisconsin before moving up to regional stock car touring series...

     was just 30 points behind points leader Davey Allison
    Davey Allison
    David Carl "Davey" Allison was a NASCAR driver. He was best known for driving the #28 Texaco-Havoline Ford for Robert Yates Racing in the Winston Cup Series. Born in Hollywood, Florida, he was the eldest of four children born to Bobby Allison and wife Judy...

     entering the 1992 Hooters 500
    1992 Hooters 500
    The 1992 Hooters 500 was the final race of the 1992 NASCAR season. The race is considered one of the greatest NASCAR races of all-time. It was held November 15, 1992 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and was televised live on ESPN...

     at Atlanta Motor Speedway
    Atlanta Motor Speedway
    Atlanta Motor Speedway is a track just outside Hampton, Georgia, twenty miles south of Atlanta. It is a quad-oval track with a seating capacity of over 125,000. It opened in 1960 as a standard oval. In 1994, 46 condominiums were built over the northeastern side of the track...

    , the last race of the 1992 season. Kulwicki rallied back into contention after a crash at Dover and was 278 points behind Bill Elliott
    Bill Elliott
    William Clyde "Bill" Elliott , also known as Awesome Bill from Dawsonville or Million Dollar Bill, is a part-time driver and former champion of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Elliott was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America on August 15, 2007. He won the 1988 NASCAR Winston Cup...

     with six races to go and most likely out of the title race. With problems among the top contenders in the ladder part of the season, his Ford "Underbird" (named it because he felt like the underdog) was back in the hunt after a string of great runs, and at the finale, Kulwicki led one more lap than Elliott (103-102) to clinch the title and win it by 10 points. To this day, he is the last driver-owner to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.

  • In the 1996 Cricket World Cup
    1996 Cricket World Cup
    The 1996 Cricket World Cup, also called the Wills World Cup after its official sponsors, was the sixth edition of the tournament organized by the International Cricket Council . It was the second World Cup to be hosted by Pakistan and India, and for the first time by Sri Lanka...

    , Sri Lanka defeated top ranked Australia in the final in front of the sell out Lahore Crowd. Sri Lanka's game style over the course of the series revolutionized One Day International Cricket, and was characterized by highly aggressive batting in the first fifteen overs of the innings in order to take advantage of the fielding restrictions imposed during this period. This strategy has since become a hallmark of One Day International cricket. Sri Lanka is the only ICC Trophy winning team to have gone on to win the Cricket World Cup.

  • Boxer James "Buster" Douglas, given odds
    The odds in favor of an event or a proposition are expressed as the ratio of a pair of integers, which is the ratio of the probability that an event will happen to the probability that it will not happen...

     of 42-to-1 by one Las Vegas
    Las Vegas Strip
    The Las Vegas Strip is an approximately stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard in Clark County, Nevada; adjacent to, but outside the city limits of Las Vegas proper. The Strip lies within the unincorporated townships of Paradise and Winchester...

     sports book, handed the previously-undefeated Mike Tyson
    Mike Tyson
    Michael Gerard "Mike" Tyson is a retired American boxer. Tyson is a former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and holds the record as the youngest boxer to win the WBC, WBA and IBF world heavyweight titles, he was 20 years, 4 months and 22 days old...

     his first ever professional defeat in Tokyo, Japan on February 11, 1990. This was the largest upset in the history of boxing
    Boxing, also called pugilism, is a combat sport in which two people fight each other using their fists. Boxing is supervised by a referee over a series of between one to three minute intervals called rounds...


  • In 2001, the hugely favored Iowa State University basketball team, a 2 seed lost to the Hampton University
    Hampton University
    Hampton University is a historically black university located in Hampton, Virginia, United States. It was founded by black and white leaders of the American Missionary Association after the American Civil War to provide education to freedmen.-History:...

     basketball team, a 15 seed, in the first round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament
    2001 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament
    The 2001 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament involved 65 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of men's NCAA Division I college basketball. It began on March 13, 2001 with the play-in game, and ended with the championship game on April 2 in...

    . It was only the fourth time since the tournament expanded to 64 teams, that a 15 seed won a game, and it is still the only time since Coppin State University beat South Carolina
    South Carolina Gamecocks men's basketball
    The South Carolina Gamecocks men's basketball team represents the University of South Carolina and competes in the Southeastern Conference. The program attained national prominence under hall of fame coach Frank McGuire, posting a 205-65 record and three NCAA Sweet 16 appearances from 1967-1976...

     in the 1997 tournament
    1997 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament
    The 1997 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament involved 64 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of men's NCAA Division I college basketball. It began on March 13, 1997, and ended with the championship game on March 31 in Indianapolis, Indiana...


  • In 2001, Goran Ivanišević
    Goran Ivaniševic
    Goran Ivanišević is a retired Croatian professional tennis player. He is best remembered for being the only person to win the men's singles title at Wimbledon as a wildcard. He achieved this in 2001, having previously been runner-up at the championships in 1992, 1994 and 1998. Ivanišević is famous...

     won the men's singles title at Wimbledon
    The Championships, Wimbledon
    The Championships, Wimbledon, or simply Wimbledon , is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, considered by many to be the most prestigious. It has been held at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London since 1877. It is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, the other three Majors...

     as a wild card
    Wild card (sports)
    The term wild card refers broadly to a tournament or playoff berth awarded to an individual or team that has not qualified through normal play.-International sports:...

    . He is the first and only man to have done so.

  • In the 2002 Winter Olympics
    2002 Winter Olympics
    The 2002 Winter Olympics, officially the XIX Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event that was celebrated in February 2002 in and around Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. Approximately 2,400 athletes from 77 nations participated in 78 events in fifteen disciplines, held throughout...

     the Australian short track speed skater
    Short track speed skating
    Short track speed skating is a form of competitive ice speed skating. In competitions, multiple skaters skate on an oval ice track with a circumference of 111.12 m...

     Steven Bradbury
    Steven Bradbury
    Steven John Bradbury OAM is a former Australian short track speed skater and four-time Olympian, who won the 1,000 m event at the 2002 Winter Olympics after all of his opponents were involved in a last corner pile-up...

    , well off the pace of the medal favorites, won the 1,000 m event after all of his opponents were involved in a last corner pile-up.

  • In the Euro 2004 football
    Football (soccer)
    Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball...

     competition, Greece
    Greece national football team
    The Greece national football team represents Greece in association football and is controlled by the Hellenic Football Federation, the governing body for football in Greece. Greece's home ground is Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus and their head coach is Fernando Santos...

    , which some sports books gave 150-1 odds to win at the start of the tournament, defeated the hosts Portugal
    Portugal national football team
    The Portugal national football team represents Portugal in association football and is controlled by the Portuguese Football Federation, the governing body for football in Portugal. Portugal's home ground is Estádio Nacional in Oeiras, and their head coach is Paulo Bento...

     in their opening match, also the defending champions France
    France national football team
    The France national football team represents the nation of France in international football. It is fielded by the French Football Federation , the governing body of football in France, and competes as a member of UEFA, which encompasses the countries of Europe...

    , then favourites Czech Republic
    Czech Republic national football team
    The Czech Republic national football team represents the Czech Republic in association football and is controlled by the Football Association of the Czech Republic, the governing body for football in the Czech Republic. Their current head coach is Michal Bílek...

     in the semi-finals, and Portugal again in the final, to win the trophy in probably the most unexpected victory in football history.

  • In Super Bowl XLII
    Super Bowl XLII
    Super Bowl XLII was an American football game on February 3, 2008 that featured the National Football Conference champion New York Giants and the American Football Conference champion New England Patriots to decide the National Football League champion for the 2007 season...

     the New York Giants
    New York Giants
    The New York Giants are a professional American football team based in East Rutherford, New Jersey, representing the New York City metropolitan area. The Giants are currently members of the Eastern Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League...

     defeated the New England Patriots
    New England Patriots
    The New England Patriots, commonly called the "Pats", are a professional football team based in the Greater Boston area, playing their home games in the town of Foxborough, Massachusetts at Gillette Stadium. The team is part of the East Division of the American Football Conference in the National...

     17-14. The Patriots had gone the season undefeated.

  • In 2004 ALCS the Boston Red Sox
    Boston Red Sox
    The Boston Red Sox are a professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts, and a member of Major League Baseball’s American League Eastern Division. Founded in as one of the American League's eight charter franchises, the Red Sox's home ballpark has been Fenway Park since . The "Red Sox"...

     were down 3–0 to the New York Yankees
    New York Yankees
    The New York Yankees are a professional baseball team based in the The Bronx, New York. They compete in Major League Baseball in the American League's East Division...

     and then the Red Sox went on to beat the Yankees four in a row to win the AL pennant 4–3 in the greatest comeback in postseason
    Major League Baseball postseason
    The Major League Baseball postseason is an elimination tournament held after the conclusion of Major League Baseball's regular season. It consists of one best-of-five series and two best-of-seven series...

     history. The Red Sox would go on to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals
    St. Louis Cardinals
    The St. Louis Cardinals are a professional baseball team based in St. Louis, Missouri. They are members of the Central Division in the National League of Major League Baseball. The Cardinals have won eleven World Series championships, the most of any National League team, and second overall only to...

     to win their first World Series
    2004 World Series
    The 2004 World Series was the Major League Baseball championship series for the 2004 season. It was the 100th World Series and featured the American League champions, the Boston Red Sox, against the National League champions, the St. Louis Cardinals...

     champions since 1918.

  • In 2008, the Tampa Bay Rays
    Tampa Bay Rays
    The Tampa Bay Rays are a Major League Baseball team based in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Rays are a member of the Eastern Division of MLB's American League. Since their inception in , the club has played at Tropicana Field...

     went from last to first in the AL East and into the 2008 World Series
    2008 World Series
    The 2008 World Series was the 104th World Series between the American and National Leagues for the championship of Major League Baseball. The Philadelphia Phillies as champions of the National League and the Tampa Bay Rays, as American League champions, competed to win four games out of a possible...

    . Their underdog run ended there when they lost to the Philadelphia Phillies
    Philadelphia Phillies
    The Philadelphia Phillies are a Major League Baseball team. They are the oldest continuous, one-name, one-city franchise in all of professional American sports, dating to 1883. The Phillies are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League...

     four games to one.

  • The Afghanistan national cricket team began 2008 in the World Cricket League
    World Cricket League
    The ICC World Cricket League is a series of international one-day cricket tournaments for national teams without Test status, administered by the International Cricket Council. All associate and affiliate members of the ICC are eligible to compete in the league system, which features a promotion...

     Division Five
    2008 ICC World Cricket League Division Five
    The 2008 ICC World Cricket League Division Five is a cricket tournament that took place between 23 and 31 May 2008 in Jersey. It forms part of the ICC World Cricket League and qualifying for the 2011 Cricket World Cup.-Teams:...

    , the fifth tier of One Day International cricket. In May of that year, they won Division Five, starting a fairy-tale year that saw them also win Divisions Four
    2008 ICC World Cricket League Division Four
    The 2008 ICC World Cricket League Division Four is a cricket tournament in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, which took place between 4 and 11 October 2008 as a part of the ICC World Cricket League and qualifying for the 2011 Cricket World Cup.-Teams:...

     and Three
    2009 ICC World Cricket League Division Three
    The 2009 ICC World Cricket League Division Three was a cricket tournament that took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina from January 24 to 31 2009. It formed part of the ICC World Cricket League and qualifying for the 2011 Cricket World Cup....

    , putting them in the 2009 ICC World Cup Qualifier
    2009 ICC World Cup Qualifier
    The 2009 ICC World Cup Qualifier was a cricket tournament that took place in April 2009 in South Africa. It was the final qualification tournament for the 2011 Cricket World Cup....

    . Although the Afghans' fifth-place finish in that event left them out of the 2011 Cricket World Cup
    2011 Cricket World Cup
    The 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup was the tenth Cricket World Cup. It was played in India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. It was Bangladesh's first time co-hosting a World Cup...

    , it gave them the consolation prize of official ODI status for the next four years, effectively placing them in the second tier of the sport.

Song Contests

The Olsen Brothers
Olsen Brothers
Olsen Brothers are a Danish rock/pop music duo, and are brothers Jørgen and "Noller" Olsen. They formed their first band, The Kids, in 1965. The Kids warmed up for The Kinks in the K.B...

, winners of the 2000 contest
Eurovision Song Contest 2000
The Eurovision Song Contest 2000 was the 45th Eurovision Song Contest and was held on 13 May 2000 at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden, following Charlotte Nilsson's victory in Jerusalem the previous year. It was the first time since 1996 that the contest was held on mainland Europe. The...

, with the old-style ballad Fly on the Wings of Love
Fly On The Wings Of Love
"Fly on the Wings of Love" is a song by the Olsen Brothers, which was the winner of Eurovision Song Contest 2000, performed for Denmark, singing in English....

 performed by two of the oldest contestants, in a contest which tends to favor middle of the road pop and young singers.

Sertab Erener
Sertab Erener
Sertab Erener is a Turkish pop music singer and also a cross-over soprano with a vocal range that extends to high F. She is one of the most successful female Turkish pop singers in her homeland, and is considered one of the divas of Turkish pop music...

's victory in the 2003 contest
Eurovision Song Contest 2003
The Eurovision Song Contest 2003 was the forty-eighth Eurovision Song Contest, held at the Skonto Hall in Riga, Latvia on 24 May 2003. The hosts were Marie N and Renārs Kaupers. Sertab Erener, the Turkish entrant, won the contest with "Everyway That I Can", scoring 167 points. The winning...

, in which most bookmakers placed Russia and Spain as favourites.

A clear example is Ksenia Sitnik
Ksenia Sitnik
Ksenia Mikhailovna Sitnik , sometimes also transliterated as Kseniya Sitnik or Xenia Sitnik, is a Belarusian child singer...

, winner of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2005
Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2005
The Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2005 was the third Junior Eurovision Song Contest for young singers aged 8 to 15. On 26 November 2005, the contest was broadcast live from the Ethias Arena in Hasselt, Belgium, in a joint effort by the national broadcasters Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroep and...

 representing Belarus. Not only her song My Vmeste wasn't popular prior to the contest: One poll even placed her last with no points. However, she got to win.


Alexei Alekhine
Alexei Alekhine
Alexei Alekhine was a Russian chess master and the brother of World Chess Champion Alexander Alekhine.His father was a wealthy landowner, a Marshal of the Nobility and a member of the State Duma, and his mother was an heiress to an industrial fortune.Both he and his younger brother, Alexander...

's victory over José Raúl Capablanca
José Raúl Capablanca
José Raúl Capablanca y Graupera was a Cuban chess player who was world chess champion from 1921 to 1927. One of the greatest players of all time, he was renowned for his exceptional endgame skill and speed of play...

, regarded as an unbeatable chessmaster, in World Chess Championship 1927
World Chess Championship 1927
The 1927 World Chess Championship was played between José Raúl Capablanca and Alexander Alekhine. It was played in Buenos Aires from September 16 to November 29, 1927...


Alekhine's own defeat by Max Euwe
Max Euwe
Machgielis Euwe was a Dutch chess Grandmaster, mathematician, and author. He was the fifth player to become World Chess Champion . Euwe also served as President of FIDE, the World Chess Federation, from 1970 to 1978.- Early years :Euwe was born in Watergraafsmeer, near Amsterdam...

 in 1935, after a series of 30 games.

Bobby Fischer
Bobby Fischer
Robert James "Bobby" Fischer was an American chess Grandmaster and the 11th World Chess Champion. He is widely considered one of the greatest chess players of all time. Fischer was also a best-selling chess author...

's Game of the Century
The Game of the Century (chess)
The Game of the Century usually refers to a chess game played between Donald Byrne and 13-year-old Bobby Fischer in the Rosenwald Memorial Tournament in New York City on October 17, 1956. It was nicknamed "The Game of the Century" by Hans Kmoch in Chess Review...

 in 1956.

See also

  • Cinderella (sports)
    Cinderella (sports)
    In American and Canadian sports, a Cinderella or "Cinderella Story" refers to a team or player who advances much further in a tournament or career than originally anticipated. Cinderellas tend to gain much media and fan attention as they move closer to the championship game at the end of the...

  • Contender (stock character)
    Contender (stock character)
    A contender is a stock character found in stories and films depicting the development and triumph of an individual through athletic achievement. The typical storyline of the contender is one of an individual with raw natural talent, who is hindered by a shortage of either knowledge of the sport,...

  • Rags to riches
    Rags to riches
    Rags to Riches refers to any situation in which a person rises from poverty to wealth, or sometimes from obscurity to fame. This is a common archetype in literature and popular culture ....

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