10 Best Rivalries in Sports History

AP Photo/Mitsunori Chigita, File AP Photo/Mitsunori Chigita, File

Great sports rivalries are fuelled as much by geographical proximity, as to individual stars or storied teams going at it in epic clashes for athletic glory. Some resemble military clashes, like the long-standing Army-Navy football game or India vs. Pakistan in cricket. Of course, internecine matches like Barcelona and Real Madrid in Spanish football and long distance running battles between Brits Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe are great examples. The tennis world saw great rivalries like Bjorn Borg vs. John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova duel with Chris Evert. Surfers Kelly Slater and Andy Irons took their rivalry out to the massive waves of the Pacific Ocean. Horses have even been rivals, with Sea Biscuit trying attempting to outrun War Admiral in many a Triple Crown race. Rivalries have even taken a darker turn over the years, as witnessed Tonya Harding taking out rival skater Nancy Kerrigan’s in one of the most bizarre stories ever.

10. Michael Phelps (U.S.) vs. Ian Thorpe (Australia), Swimming

Among individual rivalries, not many athletes could boast the resumes posted by the American Phelps and the Aussie Thorpe, commonly known as “Thorpedo.” Phelps is the most decorated American Olympian ever, winning 22 medals during his career. Thorpe, who won many Commonwealth and Pan Pacific swimming championships, boasted nine Olympic medals, including five gold. In 2004 in Athens, Phelps was blazing a path to six gold medals, just one behind Mark Spitz’ amazing seven at Munich. Thorpe was waiting for him in his specialty, the 200 freestyle, though. In what was dubbed, “the race of the century”, Thorpe won gold in Olympic record time and Phelps grabbed bronze.

AP Photo/Mark Baker

AP Photo/Mark Baker

Next Page
Like SportsBreak on Facebook   |  
More On SportsBreak
  • 10 Longest Losing Streaks To Start A Season
    Failing, and failing miserably, is hardly any team's goal. It's not usually lack of effort, or hustle, that causes major sports teams to go on a losing streak, it's usually a mixture of bad luck, bad timing, bad execution...
  • 10 Worst Dressed Coaches In Sports
    Apparently, the governor of Ohio has a problem with native son Jim Harbaugh and his favorite khakis. The state's highest politico released a missive that all Ohioans refrain from wearing the pleated pants that the Michigan...
  • 10 Things To Be Thankful For On The Toronto Sports Scene
    You have to admit, it's been a banner year for (most) Toronto professional sports teams. All but one team -- we know who they are -- made the playoffs and one of them actually did some damage -- take a guess who.
  • 10 Craziest Coach Confrontations In Sports
    Sports often brings out the worst in opponents and when things go sideways, fists start flying. There have been some massive brawls in all major sports, especially in hockey, where even the goaltenders have duked it out in...
  • 10 Biggest Party Animals In Sports Today
    For how revered and seemingly squeaky clean Derek Jeter was while with the New York Yankees, you'd never have known he liked to party like a rock star.
  • Top 10 Classic Poses In Sports
    The Golden State Warriors are on a heck of a ride right now. The defending champions won their lucky 13th straight game to open the season.
  • 10 Goofiest Sports Team Names Ever
    Giving a sports team a name that just rolls off the tongue, and represents a city's or a college's heritage, is a time-honored tradition.
  • 10 Sports Superstars Who Will Call It Quits Soon
    In the age of social media, an athlete can't retire in anonymity, or gracefully in some instances. Therefore, the "retirement tour" is the new normal around professional sports leagues.
  • 10 Most Hilarious Unruly Fan Takedowns Ever
    Root, root, rooting for the home team and drink excessive amounts of alcohol do not mix. As long as there has been enough notoriety to go around -- and an abundance of cell phone cameras now -- jacked up fans take their...
  • 10 Sports Stars Who Served Their Country During War
    Veterans Day (Remembrance Day in Canada) has come and gone, however, men and women in uniform are never very far from our thoughts.
  • 10 Athletes Who Could Quarterback Cowboys Until Romo Returns
    Stone Cold Steve Austin fashions himself as something of a NFL quarterback. So says Steve Austin. The Texas native and WWE star told the Dallas Morning News that in no uncertain terms he could save the Dallas Cowboys...
  • 10 Most High-Priced Sports Memorabilia Pieces Ever
    Sports memorabilia is a multi-million (probably billion) dollar racket. Game tickets, advertising and television rights are one thing, but the sale of everything from official jerseys, to hats, beer mugs, lunch boxes and...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>