Tiger Woods, Usain Bolt and the Top 10 Unbeatable Star Letdowns Ever

Jon StarSenior Writer IAugust 9, 2010

Tiger Woods, Usain Bolt and the Top 10 Unbeatable Star Letdowns Ever

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    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    There was a shocking pair of headlines to come out of the sports world over the weekend.  First, seemingly superhuman sprinter Usain Bolt lost in the 100-meter sprint.  Then, Tiger Woods followed up with an utter collapse and the worst finish of his career.

    This combination got us thinking about some of the other superstar let downs that have shaken the ground of the sports world.

    While we have yet to see how Bolt and Tiger will rebound from their poor showings,  the others on this list either suffered mystique busting losses or losses from which the individual or the team never truly recovered.

No. 10 Down Goes Ali

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    Muhammad Ali was 26-0 and hadn't lost in the first 11 years of his career.  That was until undefeated number one contender Joe Frazier defeated Ali in a 15-round decision to take Ali's WBA/WBC title belts.  "The Fight of the Century" was one of the greatest bouts of all-time, but Ali taking his first loss made for one of the most electric moments in boxing history.

9. Usain Bolt

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    Usain Bolt was the unquestioned king of the 100-meter sprint, and is also currently its world record holder.

    He ran the 100-meter in 9.69 seconds at the 2008 Olympics. 

    This weekend in Stockholm, however, Bolt ran the race in 9.97 seconds and lost the 100-meter for the first time in 15 races. 

    American Tyson Gay took down Bolt with a finishing time of 9.84 seconds and instantly gave credibility that maybe there is a sprinter out there who can give Bolt a run for his money.

8. Down Goes Nadal

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    Rafael Nadal was untouchable on clay heading into his fourth round match against Robin Soderling at the 2009 French Open. Nadal won three of the last four Grand Slam events heading into the tournament. He won 25 matches in a row on clay and hadn't dropped a set in the French Open in over two years. 

    That all came to a screeching halt went Soderling knocked out Nadal in four sets for one of the biggest tennis upsets of not only the last decade, but maybe one of the biggest of all time.

7. Tiger Woods: 2010 Bridgestone Invitational

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    Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    This past weekend was supposed to be the weekend Tiger Woods finally got himself on track. Instead, it was the absolute worst weekend of Tiger Woods' professional career. Tiger failed to shoot under par in any round of a tournament for the first time in his illustrious career, leading to an 18-over final score and a 78th place finish.

    All of this came on a course which he's won on a record seven times.  Talk about a fall from grace.

6. Mo and The Yankees Go Down

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    The New York Yankees won three World Series in a row and were on the verge of becoming the first team in the Expansion Era to win four straight crowns.

    The Yankees had the dominant Mariano Rivera on the mound and the champagne on ice.  That was until Rivera exasperated things with a throwing error and then gave up the title-clinching bloop to Luis Gonzalez.  Rivera eventually recovered, but the loss still haunts many Yankees fans (including this one). 

5. Michael Phelps

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    Michael Phelps was riding an unbelievable winning streak before July 28, 2009.  Phelps rode a four-year individual winning streak, including his eight gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics, before he lost to Germany's Paul Biedermann in his bread and butter event, the 200-meter freestyle.

    Not only did Biedermann defeat Phelps, but he broke Phelps' record in the event by a full second, which in swimming terms means he shattered Phelps' mark. 

4. Super Bowl XLII

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    The New England Patriots were a runaway offensive force in the 2007 regular season.  The Patriots scored the most points as a team in NFL history. Quarterback Tom Brady and wide receiver Randy Moss set individual NFL records.  Only four teams got within a touchdown of the Patriots, who went 16-0 in the regular season.

    The Patriots went into the Super Bowl with an 18-0 record ready to line up against a New York Giants team they scored 38 points against in Week 17.  However, the Giants were one of those four regular season teams to keep within a touchdown, giving the Patriots their biggest scare of the season.

    When the Patriots claimed a 14-10 lead late in the fourth quarter it looked like they would become the second team in NFL history to finish undefeated.  But then Eli Manning broke the grasp, David Tyree stuck the ball to his helmet, and the Patriots walked out of Glendale with the biggest letdown in NFL history.

3. Alexander Karelin Loses His Greatness

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    Karelin, Russia's greatest Greco-Roman wrestler, was not just on a decade-long winning streak but he didn't surrender a point in the previous decade until the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. In fact, he cruised to the gold medal match without giving up a point in a decade and had not lost in 15 years. He won three gold medals and seven straight world titles.

    That was until he faced the enormous underdog in American Rulon Gardner. Gardner slayed the Russian giant, defeating Karelin 1-0 to take home the gold medal. 

2. Douglas Defeats Tyson

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    Mike Tyson was the undefeated (37-0), undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.  That was before he traveled to Tokyo to take on what was perceived to be a much lesser opponent in James "Buster" Douglas.  Well, Douglas shocked the world by knocking out Tyson in the 10th round of a 12-round match.  Tyson never truly recovered his dominance.

1. 1980 Soviet Union Hockey Team

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    What was the "Miracle on Ice" in the United States was the most shocking loss in the history of Russian sports and one of the most shocking losses anywhere in the modern era of sports. Only twice in the 37-year span from 1954 to 1991 did the Soviet Union fail to win an Olympic tournament or world championship.

    Additionally, the Soviets were 27-1-1 in Olympic play over the 20 years before the 1980 Games in Lake Placid.