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Biggest Sports Choke Jobs

Dec 27, 2006

Whether it's Dwyane Wade hitting a jumper to help the Heat win the NBA title or David Ortiz hitting a walkoff homerun for the Bosox, cluch players lead their teams to victory at crucial times. But for every clutch player or team, there are as many chokers - those who snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. From blowing big leads to losing clutch games, Kidzworld looks at some of the biggest choke jobs from the world of sports.

New York Yankees - 2004 ALCS

After taking a 3-0 lead against the Boston Red Sox in the 2004 American League Championship Series, the New York Yankees pulled off an Empire State Building-sized choke job. The Yanks lost the next four games, including two in extra innings, and the Boston Red Sox went on to break the Curse of the Bambino and win their first World Series since 1918. It's one thing to be the first team in baseball history to blow a 3-0 series lead when you have a lineup stacked with stars like Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. But it's inexcusable to dominate your most-hated rival for three games and then pull a choke job that breaks an 86-year old curse and sends them to the World Series.

Chicago Cubs - 2003 NLCS

The Chicago Cubs have a long, long history of losing - so their choke job in the 2003 National League Championship Series against the Florida Marlins wasn't entirely unexpected. With a 3-2 lead in the Series and a 3-0 lead at Wrigley Field in the eighth inning of Game 6, the Cubs were just five outs away from returning to their first World Series in nearly sixty years. That World Series dream collapsed when a Cubs fan, named Steve Bartman, interfered with a foul ball that could have been caught by outfielder Moises Alou for the second out. The miscue somehow caused the Cubs' throats to clench up and the choke was on. Florida scored eight runs in the inning and went on to win the game and the Series. Cubs fan Steve Bartman received several death threats, while the Cubs continued their nearly 100-year-old streak of World Series futility.

Phil Mickelson - 2006 US Open

At the 2006 US Open, Phil Mickelson turned an almost certain victory into one of the biggest choke jobs in golfing history. Mickelson only needed a bogey (one over par) on the final hole of the Open to win it all. Instead, Mickelson hit his first shot into a tent, his second shot hit a tree and another went into a sand trap. Mickelson ended up finishing second in the tournament and added to his resume of not so clutch performances. "I just can't believe that I did that," Mickelson said after getting his caddie to perform the Heimlich Maneuver. "I am such an idiot."

Lindsey Jacobellis - 2006 Winter Olympics

Lindsey Jacobelis was just a few feet away from a gold medal in boardercross at the 2006 Winter Olympics when she pulled off a choke job of Olympic proportions. With a big lead in the final race, Lindsey tried to pull off a flashy backside method grab in front of the fans while going over the penultimate jump before the finish line. But Lindsey's extra dash of flash caused her to wipeout just a few feet from the finish line, which allowed a Swiss snowboarder to pass her by and take the gold. After the race, Lindsey said, "I was ahead. I wanted to share my enthusiasm with the crowd. I messed up. Oh well, it happens." While Lindsey's laid-back explanation for the method of her method grab is cool, it still doesn't make her flop any less of a choke job.

Have you or your team ever choked in a big game? Or has your opponent ever pulled a big choke job while playing against you? your biggest choke stories.

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