When Underdogs Became Biggest Achievers

Underdogs who defied the odds

We all love success stories and specially the one where an underdog (he/she) defies all odds and sweeps away with the prize. In the words of J Cole “I have always been an underdog, I feel I can beat the odds”. The one thing that gets these underdogs going is ‘Belief’ and hard work and the hope that’ in order to achieve big you don’t have to be big’.

The Real-Life Underdogs Who Defied The Odds
The Underdogs Who Defied The Odds

The Blair Witch Project – Arts

The films ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ in 1980 and the last broadcast’ in 1998 had already used the concept of pseudo documentary style. But when The Blair witch project used the same structure in 1999, it became a game changer in the world of horror Cinema. As Hollinger sees it, it was the first major horror film to take full advantage of the internet. Cinematic geniuses of directors Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick, made it a viral internet sensation, earning it $248.6 Million. As the credits rolled at the end of the movie we are presented with found footage adding a unique genuinely to the film causing a debate on it being real or not. The spur it created, spread like wild fire primarily with the word of mouth, motivating those who had not already seen it so curious that they had to see what it was all about. Even today, the film stays with you making the unbelievable seem real.

J.K. Rowling – Arts

Harry Potter, a children fantasy novel series which has reportedly topped the New York best seller list was the brain child of Joanne K Rowling. As a single mother living in Edinburgh, Scotland, Rowling became an international literary sensation in 1999 when the first three installments of her book series became the fastest selling books both in the US and the UK. Harry Potter series sold hundreds of millions of copies and was adapted into a blockbuster film franchise making Rowling Britain’s 13th wealthiest woman which is wealthier than even the Queen herself. With the idea that occurred to her while she was traveling on a train from Manchester to London, she wrote the book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Sorcerer, for its publication in America) and rest as we know is history.

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Rhythmix Vs Simon Cowell – Arts

After the great success of the boy band ‘One Direction’, Simon Cowell did it again when he brought the girl’s pop band together on the stage of popular reality show X factor and named the band,
Rhythmix. But tables took turn when a children’s charity organization from Brighton with the same name protested on their name being used by the X Factor girl group. A public standoff between the Rhythmix charity (organizes musicians to work with disabled children) and the music mogul came to a head on in the year 2011. After weeks of pressure from the charity center ultimately Simon Cowell gave up his attempt to trademark the name Rhythmix and withdrew his application and girl pop
group came to be known as ‘Little Mix’.

Gary Cohn vs Dyslexia – Business

Gary Cohn was expelled from his elementary school and had changed four different schools by the time he was in sixth grade, was labeled as an ‘Idiot’ by his teachers and classmates. Being a dyslexic he struggled in school but managed to graduate from high school and also graduated from American University in 1982. His passion for financial markets landed him a position in Goldman’s commodities trading unit, and in 1994, was made partner. Today this Wall Street titan is the president and chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs. “The one trait in a lot of dyslexic people I know is that by the time we got out of college, our ability to deal with failure was very highly developed,” Cohn told in an interview. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without my dyslexia. I would never have taken that first chance.”

Richard Branson vs British Airways – Business

When his flight from Puerto Rico to Virgin Island was cancelled, 1984, Richard Branson hired a plane, borrowed a blackboard and chalked down ‘Virgin Airlines – $39 one way to BVI’. He filled up his first plane and thus was launched, Virgin Atlantic, now the Second largest UK carrier. It had not been an easy ride for the billionaire entrepreneur, in 1990’s the British Airways ran what became known as the “dirty tricks” campaign. BA had a team who illegally accessed the Virgin Atlantic’s computer information and used up that information to call up passengers, pretending to be from Virgin’s. They misinformed the Virgin’s passengers that their Virgin flights were cancelled and switched them to British Airways. Virgin took British Air to court and won $945,000 in damages, the largest libel settlement in UK history. Branson distributed the settlement money equally among all his staff calling it the ‘BA Christmas Bonus’.

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Bea’s of Bloomsbury vs Starbucks – Business

Bea’s Bloomsbury, a small bakery in London had ‘Duffin’ in their cookbook since April 2011 which is a crossover between a donut and a muffin. Starbucks was accused of ripping off the Duffin idea (2013) and selling them in their cafes, all over the UK. Moreover, Starbucks pastry partner in the U.K., Rich Products, also trademarked the name Duffin in the U.K. The small bakery feared that they had lost the legal power to use their name for their own creation. Later Ian Cranna, vice president of marketing for Starbucks U.K, said in a statement. “Neither Starbucks nor Rich Products have at any time suggested that we will attempt to stop Bea’s of Bloomsbury selling their own Duffins.”

Achuar Tribe vs Occidental Petroleum – Environment

A legal dispute started in 2007, when residents from five Achuar communities living along the Corrientes River in Peru filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles-based Occidental Petroleum. They
accused Occidental of contamination of their territory and water sources, and inappropriately managing toxic products at one of their oil fields, between 1971 and 2000. Result being endangered
health, premature death, birth defects and adversely affecting the environment of the Achuar community. In 2015, the two parties reached for an out of court settlement, where Occidental had
to provide assistance for community development projects for the benefit of these five Achuar communities.

Erin Brockovich vs The Pacific Gas & Electric Company – Environment

This is one of the biggest class action lawsuits in American history against a multi-billion dollar corporation. A case which includes a $295 million settlement, an apology and a Julia Roberts
starring epic movie Erin Brockovich in 2000. The Pacific Gas & Electric Company had to settle claims for more than 1,000 residents in several Mojave Desert towns for affected residents, where leaks from gas compressor plants in the 1950s through the 1970s polluted the groundwater basin with chromium which was 140 times more than the permissible limits by the government causing cancer in children mostly.

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The 300 (Spartans) vs the Persians led by King Xerxes I – History

Zack Snyder’s 2007 fantasy historical film, 300, was based one of the most famous battles in European ancient history, the Battle of Thermopylae. This battle was fought between Leonidas the
king of Sparta (489 B.C) and Xerxes the king of Persia. Xerxes launched his offensive upon Greece with an army of more than two hundred thousand soldiers against 300 Spartans, who were the most famous combatants on the Greek side. The battle took place over 3 days, for the better of two days the Greeks were able to hold the front line and not letting the Persians break them. Their longer thrusting spears and their heavy shields and body armor gave them a distinct advantage over the Persians. However, on the final day, the Persians had moved behind the Greek position and surrounded them in both directions. King Leonidas, as well as every last soldier that stood with him, were killed. Though it was not a victory for the Greeks the bravery of the Spartans boosted their morale of the surviving Greek soldiers who later on defeated the Persians.

Brenda Berkman vs The City of New York – History

In 1978, Brenda Berkman along with her class of 410 women cleared the written portion of the fire fighter exam but failed the Physical test. She challenged the fairness and relevance of the newly intensified physical test and filled a sex discrimination lawsuit against the City of New York. The court ruled (1982), that the FDNY’s physical abilities test violated federal law and ordered the department to develop a new test, which all of the plaintiffs would be allowed to take. This victory over a federal sex discrimination lawsuit, truly opened the Department to female firefighters for the first time.

Infographic by: Roulette Online

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