Leicester's Premier League triumph considered the greatest ever sporting upset
By Tim Clement
Last Updated: 03/05/16 10:46am
Leicester's seemingly unthinkable Premier League triumph is the greatest sporting upset of the modern era, according to the bookmakers.
The Foxes have defied the longest of feasible odds to lift the trophy, with Sky Bet reporting it is the first time they have ever paid out a single outright bet at 5,000/1.
It has also resulted in their largest ever payout, with £4.6m coughed up to punters, with the industry as a whole paying approximately £20m.
To contextualise their feat, here's a look at what the bookies consider the greatest professional sporting upsets of the modern era...
Ben Curtis and Todd Hamilton winning The Open (both 500/1)
Royal St George's Golf Club, in the south of England, has produced some of the great Open champions. Bobby Locke, Walter Hagen and Henry Cotton were among those to triumph there in the first part of the 20th century; in the second part, greats like Greg Norman and Sandy Lyle followed suit. But in 2003, an unknown American by the name of Ben Curtis won by a single shot from Vijay Singh and Thomas Bjorn in what at the time was the single biggest upset in the history of golf.
However, if Curtis expected his stay as the most surprising winner of The Open to last, he was mistaken. Just one year later, compatriot Todd Hamilton ensured at least a share of that title as he beat Ernie Els in a play-off for the Claret Jug.
Greece win Euro 2004 (300/1)
Having been placed in the fourth pot for the draw, hosts Portugal were expecting to kick off the competition with a comfortable triumph in their opening match against Otto Rehhagel's men. However, in the space of 23 days they were embarrassed twice by a Greece side which mastered the art of stifling, winning 1-0 in a turgid yet remarkable final.
Goran Ivanisevic winning Wimbledon (250/1)
Ivanisevic became the first ever wildcard to win the men's singles when he won the 2001 Wimbledon title, breaking British hearts by trumping Tim Henman is the semi-finals before beating Pat Rafter in an epic final. His 9-7 fifth-set triumph completed the greatest Grand Slam upset in the open era, which will have been all the more satisfying given his three previous final losses at SW19.
Manchester United win the 1999 treble (100/1)
Sir Alex Ferguson's time at Manchester United will go down as the most successful in the club's history, with the peak being their 1998/99 campaign, when the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League trophies were landed. The triumph was all the more remarkable because of the nature of their European triumph, when Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored in extra-time to secure a 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich. United hit odds of 500/1 in-play to win that final without extra-time, a feat which will be etched into footballing legend.
Norton's Coin wins Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1990 - 100/1
There have been several horses and individuals that have upset the odds in the world of horse racing. Mon Mome won the 2009 Grand National at 100/1, Maoi Chinn Tire won at Wetherby in October 2010 at 200/1 and Equinoctial even usurped those odds with a 250/1 win at Kelso in November 1990. And then there was Frankie Dettori's 'Magnificent Seven' at Ascot in September 1996, when he went through the card to leave the bookies on their knees. But the biggest upset was surely Norton's Coin in the 1990 Cheltenham Gold Cup at 100/1. Trained by a Welsh dairy farmer, Sirrell Griffiths, he only had two stablemates and had finished last in the King George and ninth of ten in the Victor Chandler Chase prior to his unexpected success at the Festival, where he beat Toby Tobias and the great Desert Orchid.
Wimbledon winning 1988 FA Cup (80/1)
The 'Crazy Gang' will go down as the greatest odds defiers in FA Cup history, having overcome odds of 16/1 just to win the final. Oddschecker suggest that their odds of 80/1 would have been even longer had there been an established price comparison website around to drive clearer competition between bookmakers, but their price would have still been nowhere near 5000/1 due to the nature of cup competition. Wimbledon had only just completed their second season in the top flight and were competing in their first cup final, making the 1-0 victory over Liverpool the most remarkable in Wembley's history.
Japan to beat South Africa in the 2015 Rugby World Cup (66/1)
Japan pulled off probably the greatest upset in World Cup history with a thrilling last-minute 34-32 victory over two-time winners South Africa in 2015. The Brave Blossoms, coached by Australian Eddie Jones, defied odds of 66/1 to stun the Springboks and send the crowd wild. Karne Hesketh crossed for a match-winning try in the dying embers as the 1/500 pre-match favourites were slain. It proved to be Japan's only victory of the tournament but one that will live long in the memory.