Cinderella team is a term used to refer to a team that is considered an underdog at the beginning of the playoffs (or of any tournament) but manages to advance to further rounds than expected, defeating stronger teams in the process. Those teams usually attract a fair amount of media and fan attention the further they advance in the tournament. The term is a reference to the fairy tale Cinderella.

Examples of Cinderella teamsEdit

  • American National Team (1980): The American team, consisting entirely of amateur and collegiate players, won the Olympic gold medal. Along the way, they defeated the Soviet Union, considered the best hockey team in the world at the time, by a score of 4-3 in a medal round game, an event known as the Miracle on Ice and widely considered to be the greatest U.S. sports achievement of the 20th century.[1]


  1. Fitzpatrick, Jamie. Miracle on Ice: American Hockey's Defining Moment. Retrieved on 2009-02-09.
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