Here’s a Look at the Biggest Olympics Upsets So Far
There are favorites and there are underdogs. And the favorites usually win, of course.
But with more than 300 gold medals to be awarded at these Olympics, the laws of chance say that sometimes the favorites will stumble. It’s already arrived. The Russian ice hockey team in 1980. Wrestler Aleksandr Karelin in 2000. The US softball team in 2008.
From the early days of the Tokyo Olympics, a few big names are joining the list.
United States Women’s Gymnastics Team
After Simone Biles abruptly retired from tag team competition on Tuesday night, the United States took the silver in an event they had long dominated and were favorites to win. Russia won gold and Great Britain won bronze.
Osaka became the face of the Games when she lit the cauldron during the opening ceremony. A gold medal in tennis seems to have been the logical end of its history. Still, Osaka lost to world-ranked 42nd ranked player Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic on Tuesday in a third round loss, 6-1, 6-4. It took less than an hour.
World number 1 Australian tennis player Barty was eliminated in the first round after losing in straight sets to Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo, 6-4, 6-3.
American men’s basketball
The United States men’s basketball team experienced a few stumbles in the exhibitions leading up to the Games, but were still a big favorite at the start. She lost her opening match against France.
American Women’s Football
The World Cup-winning United States women’s football team showed little of their usual boastfulness in a 3-0 surrender to Sweden. He also pitted Australia in a scoreless draw, although that was enough for the United States to advance to the round of 16. On the men’s side, pre-tournament favorites Spain started with a draw against Egypt.
Japan beat the United States, 2-0, on Tuesday in a replay of the last time these two rival teams met for gold at the 2008 Beijing Games, when Japan won and softball was then withdrawn from the Olympics. The victory marks Japan’s second consecutive Olympic gold medal in the event.
Chinese Synchronized Diving Team
China rarely loses in diving, much less often in synchronized diving. Still, the men’s team lost to Great Britain in the synchronized platform event.
Chinese table tennis team
Another bad day for China, as Japan ended China’s dominance in table tennis with a gold in mixed doubles.
China won all four gold medals at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Games and Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen’s team were a big favorite this time around. But Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito defeated them.
Admittedly, that was predicted, as her emerging rival, Australia’s Ariarne Titmus, had recorded better times than she recently in the 400-meter freestyle. But it was still amazing to see Ledecky, one of the most dominant distance swimmers of a generation, go over the wall to be relegated to the silver medal.
Will there be more?
There is a long way to go, and many more favorites. The US women’s basketball team. The Serbian three-on-three basketball team. Russian synchronized swimmers. Believe it or not, the Sinkovic brothers from Croatia in the pairs rowing event.
Here’s a not-so-bold prognosis: they might not all win.
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