There are a number of thrilling events at the Winter Olympics. However, with all due respect to downhill skiing, snowboard cross, and short track speed skating, it’s pretty clear that the most exciting event of all is ice hockey.
So what is it about hockey? Well it’s not just the fast pace, the skill, the rivalries, and the hitting that make it so great. Obviously all those factors are relevant, but in the end what makes hockey the most exciting Olympic sport is the potential for major upsets.
Think about it for a minute. There’s absolutely no chance that any figure skater outside the top 10 in the world is going to come away with a gold medal in the men’s figure skating competition, and it’s pretty much inconceivable that a cross-country skier from India is going to medal over athletes from Norway or Sweden. But in hockey? In hockey a David always has a shot at taking down a Goliath. We know because it’s happened before, and it’s what keeps us on the edge of our seats.
Today, with both the men’s and the women’s tournaments at the 2014 Winter Olympics moving into the knockout stage, let’s remind ourselves that anything is possible by looking at the biggest upsets in the history of Olympic hockey. Sure, you can probably name one such upset right now off the top of your head. But I bet you can’t name eight others, so take a look.