5 of the most incredible sporting stories

With Leicester City winning the Premier League, we take a look at five other amazing stories from sport.

Meryl D'Souza May 3, 2016

For more than a decade, the only English football teams of note were Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City. With Arsenal – true to their nature – lying on the fringes in fourth place.

Then the 2015-16 Premier League season happened that left us questioning reality. But it’s done. Do not question your reality, Leicester City have won the Premier League and are the champions of England.

We could tell you how they were unlikely candidates, but we’ll let the stats put that in perspective. At the start of the season, bookmakers had them at 5000-1 to win the Premier League. Perspective: in 2013, bookmakers thought Bono had a 1000-1 chance of being the next Pope.

They took that relegation candidates tag and ran with it, all the way to the summit of the Premier League. Even if they don’t manage to repeat the feat next season, they’ve already etched themselves into the history books of great upsets, and will go down as one of the most incredible stories in sport. Here are five other examples: 

Billy Miske

With a record of 48-2-2, which included wins against some of the biggest names in boxing and losses to two champions, Miske was one of the most under-appreciated boxers of his era.

Diagnosed with Bright's Disease, a deadly kidney disorder, Miske was told to retire and was given only five years to live by his doctor. But he told no one of his illness and continued to hit the ropes for his family who were financially dependant on him. Although he hung up his gloves after a one-round knockout loss to Jack Dempsey, he decided to get back into the ring one last time and scored himself a fight.

Despite being too sick to train, the Saint Paul Thunderbolt somehow beat his opponent on November 7, 1923 and took home $2,400 with which he bought Christmas presents for his kids and a piano for his wife. He died less than two months after the fight at the age of 29.


Natalie du Toit

Three years after the swimming prodigy represented South Africa at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur at the age of 14, du Toit’s left leg was amputated at the knee following an accident.

The amputation barely slowed her down as she dominated the Paralympic summer games (winning a total of 10 gold medals in 2004 and 2008), won gold in the 800 meter freestyle at the All-Africa Games and even qualified for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.


 

Jason McElwain

Born with autism, McElwain had a passion for basketball and became the equipment manager of the Greece Athena High School basketball team. Thanks to his dedication and loyalty towards his team, head coach Jim Johnson surprised McElwain with a jersey, allowing him to join the team on the bench and even play out the final four minutes of a varsity game in 2007.

J-Mac missed his first couple of shots but came back swinging, netting six three-pointers to finish with a game-high 20 points. 


John Montague

In the early 1930s there was talk of a young man who appeared on Hollywood golf courses and wowed stars with his skills. No one knew where this man came from but John Montague, who lived with comedian Oliver Hardy (Laurel and Hardy) and partied with Bing Crosby, refused to enter any major tournaments.

Even when The American Golfer magazine wrote an article begging him to play, the Mysterious Montague didn’t want public appreciation.

Ultimately a New York police inspector heard about this golfing powerhouse and realised that Montague was really LaVerne Moore, a former baseball pitcher who had been accused of robbing a restaurant. Moore died in poverty in 1972.


Ralph Neves

On May 8, 1936, 19-year-old Neves remained motionless after being thrown from and then feeling the crushing weight of his horse in the third race of the day at Bay Meadows Racecourse near San Francisco, California.

Track physicians shuttled him to the first aid room where he was pronounced dead to the crowd. In a desperate attempt to save Neves, his friend, Dr. Horace Stevens injected adrenaline into the jockey’s heart. Dr. Stevens waited for several minutes but left the hospital when it had no effect.

Half an hour after he was proclaimed dead, Neves ran out of the morgue in only his riding pants and a single boot, took a taxi back to the racetrack and demanded to be allowed to continue racing. Neves went on to ride for 28 years and lived for 59 years after he was declared dead.