A Look Back on the Biggest Upsets of the 2016 Olympics

Every competition can shock us with upsets anytime. The team you consider weak or underdog can beat the seemingly strong team anytime. In the same vein, your favorite team or the one you expect to win can draw or get bitten by the little known team.

The 2016 Olympics also had a number of upsets that were a shocker to a number of fans. We saw not-so-strong teams and countries coming to the forefront. The big shots in a number of sports were beaten by the little-known sports personalities. 


These upsets and other situations that defy conventional wisdom are some of the things that make Olympics and other competitions interesting. Let’s look at some of them below.

A Look Back on the Biggest Upsets of the 2016 Olympics
Image Source: Wikipedia

Campbell Sisters Leave the Podium in 100 Free, Oleksiak and Manuel Tie for Historic Gold

In the 8 days of competition, the winner, most dramatic and biggest of all the upsets was one of the women’s 100 free final. In the 50 free, Cate Campbell was the favorite and more so in this event since she broke the 52.07 shiny suit world record a month before the Games commenced. 

On the other hand, Bronte held the title of defending world champion and was anticipated to battle for silver with Kromowidjojo, Femke Heemskerk and Sjostrom.


In the semifinals, Campbell took the top-time in 52.71 and it seemed all odds favored her to get gold. Penny Oleksiak, a Canadian, nearly ran down Campbell and qualified second overall in 52.72 while Simone Manuel won the other semi-final. 

This added their names to the swimmers list that would compete with Campbell in the battle for silver. In the end, Manuel and Oleksiak tied for gold while Cante and Bronte came 4th and 6th respectively.

American Sam Querrey Takes Out Joker

Renowned and top-seeded Novak Djokovic was having the time of his life as the tennis’ most recent and apparently unbeatable king when he was overthrown by San Francisco’s number 28, Sam Querry.


Sweden Beats Brazil and US in Women’s Soccer

During 2016 Olympics, Team USA didn’t get the opportunity to medal after Pia Sundhage, their former manager made her Swedish side to shock them in a quarter-final round penalty shootout. 

After this, Sweden advanced to take out host Brazil with its star Marta in the semifinals, a move that advanced them to the gold medal match against Germany.

China Knocks Brazil in Women’s Volleyball

Brazil, the two-time defending Olympic champions and host country was beaten down by China in five sets. Consequently, China beat the Netherlands to advance to the gold-medal match where they tussled it out with Serbia.

Pernille Blume Surprises Big Names for 50 Gold

Just like it was in the men’s league, the spring freestyle competitions on the women’s side had one favorite in both events. The Australian Cate Campbell was the clear favorite who was the front runner in the 100 and 50 events. 

Other contenders in this event included her sister Bronte Campbell, Francesca Halsall (Britain), Sarah Sjostrom (Sweden) and Ranomi Kromowidjojo (Dutch). 

Apart from Sjostrom, the other contenders advanced on the eighth and final day to the final. Denmark’s Pernille Blume that had finished 26th in this event, had taken the top spot in the first 50 free rounds 4 years prior.

A Look Back on the Biggest Upsets of the 2016 Olympics
Image Source: Wikiwand

McEvoy Falters in 100 Free, Chalmers Claims Gold

Despite the 100 and 50 free being the shortest events in regards to time, these two events appeared to have the biggest gold locks outside the 100 breast with Peaty. Manaudou was the favorite in the men’s 50 free as well as Cameron McEvoy in the 100. 

Though McEvoy was expected to win, he instead qualified for the 4th position while Kylie Chalmers, an 18-year-old Australian claimed gold in a 47.58 time after a back half of 24.44. Also, Pieter Timmers took silver beating Adrian, Santo Condorelli and Caeleb Dressel.

Bottom Line

Upsets are what makes sports interesting. Each competition ends with their own shocking results especially when people’s favorite players are seen to draw or lose to underdog players and teams. 

Until the finals, enthusiasts and fans can only keep their fingers crossed because winning is never predictable until the last whistle. Upsets are interesting because they defy conventional knowledge.

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