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Contender (stock character)

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A contender is a stock character found in stories, television series, films, and other works depicting the development and triumph of an individual through athletic achievement. The typical storyline of the contender is one of an (often young) individual with raw natural talent, who is hindered by a shortage of either knowledge of the sport, discipline, or indeed something as simple as confidence. Through the encouragement of a coach or other guiding figure, for instance a wise old man or a magical negro, the contender overcomes previously insurmountable limitations and achieves his or her potential or even beyond, usually by some sort of victory, for instance in an athletic competition. Alternatively, they may lose in the competition but nevertheless gain in some other, perhaps greater way, such as through genuine respect from their opponents for their endeavours. After all, what matters is "not the winning, but the taking part".


  • Ted "Wildcat" Grant (1942 introduction), the elderly and still active "mystery man" from the Wildcat comic
  • Rocky Balboa, the title character in the Rocky film series (1976–2015)
  • Daniel LaRusso, the title character in The Karate Kid (1984 film)
  • Ryu, the leading character from the Street Fighter video games series (1987–2012)
  • Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn in Major League (1989 film)
  • Makunouchi Ippo, the title character of Hajime no Ippo (1989–present manga, 2000–02,09 TV series, 2003 films)
  • Terry Bogard, the leading character from the Fatal Fury video games series (1991–9)
  • Sanju in Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (1992 film)
  • Daniel E. "Rudy" Ruettiger, the title character in Rudy (1993 film)
  • Rannulph Junuh, the golfer aided by the title character, in The Legend of Bagger Vance (1995 book, 2005 film)
  • Akari Kanzaki in Battle Athletes Victory (1997 anime)
  • Sena Kobayakawa in Eyeshield 21 (2002–09 anime, 2003/2005 film, 2005–8 TV series)
  • Shinozaki Mikoto in Over Drive (2005–08 manga, 2007 TV series)

Team sports[edit]

Sometimes a narrative portrays a team sport in which several or all members of the team are contenders, and their success (or otherwise) is based, at least in part, on whether or not those team members provide sufficient guidance and support for one another. Examples of team contenders include:

  • The Bad News Bears (1976 film), an example of the team that loses "the game", but comes out of the experience with a collective greater self-esteem
  • The Charlestown Chiefs in Slap Shot (1977 film)
  • Tsubasa Ozora's team in Captain Tsubasa series (1981–88 original-run manga)
  • The Hickory High School Basketball team in Hoosiers (1986 film)
  • Shohoku High School in Slam Dunk (1990–96 manga)
  • The Texas State University Fightin' Armadillos in Necessary Roughness (1991 film)
  • The Mighty Ducks (1992–97 films)
  • The Jamaican bobsled team in Cool Runnings (1993 film)
  • Little Giants (1994 film)
  • The Big Green (1995 film)
  • The unnamed local ice hockey team in Mystery, Alaska (1999 film)
  • Shaolin monks in Shaolin Soccer (2001 film)
  • Indian villagers in Lagaan (2001 film)
  • India women's national field hockey team in Chak De! India (2007 film)
  • The Convicts in The Longest Yard[disambiguation needed]


External links[edit]

This article "Contender (stock character)" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical. Articles copied from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be seen on the Draft Namespace of Wikipedia and not main one.