15 Olympic Athletes That Could Shock the World - Rolling Stone
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The Underdogs: 15 Olympic Athletes That Could Shock the World

Refugees, teens and a country with only one athlete are among those trying to defy the odds.

Once you get past all the stories about crime, pollution, doping and Zika infections, the 2016 Olympics are sure to deliver in the same way the Games always do: Shattered world records and Phelps-like individual dominance, as well as shocking upsets and heartwarming tales of athletes whose mere participation is a victory. We remember wrestler Rulon Gardner for his shocking upset of Russian powerhouse Aleksandr Karelin, as well as Eric "The Eel" Moussambani, the swimmer from Equatorial Guinea who, thanks to his opponents' disqualification, swam his 100-meter freestyle heat alone, struggling to finish because he'd never even competed in a pool that big. Looking ahead to Rio, here are 15 underdog stories to watch, from those who might win gold to some runner-ups you'll root for anyway.

In This Article: Olympics


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