The 10 Worst Losses in USA Sports History

#5 – Dan O'Brien at the 1992 Olympic Trials

Why it was bad: Dan O'Brien was the greatest decathlete and one of the greatest athletes in the world in the 1990s. In fact, thanks to a Reebok "Dan and Dave" advertising campaign, O'Brien was the marketing star of the 1992 Olympics. Or, he would have been, had he qualified for the Olympics. But he failed to clear any heights in the pole vault and didn't make the team.

Why it was really bad: Depression over O'Brien's elimination may have caused former U.S. decathlon star Bruce Jenner to begin experimenting on his face.

#4 – USA Basketball at the 1988 Olympics

Why it was bad: The U.S. men's team had dominated basketball throughout the history of the Olympics. At the 1988 Games, the U.S. team — featuring amateurs David Robinson, Stacey Augmon and Dan Majerle — breezed through the early rounds but lost to the Soviet Union in the semifinals, temporarily ending the perception of U.S. dominance in Olympic basketball.

Why it was really bad: Despite playing just three years after Rocky IV came out, none of the Soviet fans in the crowd suddenly realized that the American way of life was better during the game and began cheering for Team USA.

#3 – USA Basketball at the 1972 Olympics

Why it was bad: The U.S. team defeated the Soviets when the USSR failed to convert a last-second shot. However, thanks to corrupt officials, time was placed back on the clock, the Soviets scored and won a contested gold medal, handing the U.S. its first-ever loss in Olympic basketball.

Why it was really bad: A nuclear war could have started over bad basketball officiating. It's a good thing NBA games weren't broadcast in the Soviet Union or the world would have been nuked to nothing years ago.

#2 – USA Basketball at the 2004 Olympics, Part 1


Why it was bad: Following the 1988 loss, professionals were allowed to play Olympic basketball and the "Dream Team" era domination began. It ended in 2004. Against Puerto Rico. In the team's first game — with NBA stars Allen Iverson and Tim Duncan on the roster — the U.S. got crushed 92-73 by Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory.

Why it was really bad: Puerto Rico has a comparable population to Oregon, Connecticut and Oklahoma. So the USA National Team basically lost to Oklahoma. Humiliating.

#1 – USA Basketball at the 2004 Olympics, Part 2

Why it was bad: Despite losing to Puerto Rico, the U.S. still had a chance to right itself and win gold. Yet in the semifinals they lost again, this time to Argentina by a score of 89-81.

Why it was really bad: Argentina isn't even a U.S. territory, so they couldn't be made a state in order to make Team USA better at basketball.