From fond memory or through the film Miracle, most Americans know about the stunning upset of the Soviet Union by the underdog U.S.A hockey team at the 1980 Olympics—engagingly retold in this book—but after this most unlikely of achievements, what do the authors consider to be the top twenty sports upsets of all time? Their answers in this entertaining volume will surprise some, perhaps appear obvious to others, but will no doubt prove to be fodder for bar-room arguments and spirited debate over sports talk radio.
Ranking the miracle at Lake Placid in 1980 as the hands-down, undisputed greatest sports upset ever, the authors go on to describe nineteen others whose ranking may prove to be more controversial. Which team was the most improbable World Series winner—the 1969 New York Mets or the 1914 Boston Braves? What was the sport of boxing's greatest upset—Buster Douglas over Mike Tyson in Tokyo in 1990, or Cassius Clay (Mohammad Ali) over Sonny Liston in 1964? How surprising was Billy Mills' 1964 Olympic marathon win? Or seventeen-year-old Michael Chang's triumph at the French Open in 1989? The authors make their case for each of these “miracles, shockers, and upsets” in convincing style, and also include sidebars on upsets that didn't “make the cut” but still qualify as compelling stories, such as “Cinderella Man” James Braddock and the 1950 World Cup shocker that was the subject of the film “The Greatest Game Ever Played.”
Barry Wilner has been a sports writer for the Associated Press since 1975. He has covered virtually every major sporting event, including nine Olympics, seven world cups, nineteen Super Bowls, the world series, and Stanley Cup finals. He has written eighteen books. He lives in Pomona, N.Y. Ken Rappoport covered every major sport out of New York for thirty years and was the AP's national hockey writer for thirteen years. He lives in Old Bridge, NJ.