Remember the ‘Miracle on Ice’?

After a week of World Cup celebration, let’s shift gears and take a walk down down memory lane … to another USA sports achievement.

In 1980, the US men’s Olympic hockey team clawed its way towards a gold medal with a game against the heavily-favored Soviet Union.

The Soviet team had won gold medals in each of the the four previous Winter Olympics.

In a “friendly” game a few days before the start of the Olympics, the Soviets manhandled the U.S.A. team 10-3.

Suffice it to say that things didn’t look good for the Americans.

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That is, until the miracle happened…

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U.S.A fell behind 3-2 in the first two periods.

But, in the 3rd period, Team USA tied the game ….  then as time was winding down, team Capt. Mike Eruzione found the back of the net for the fourth and game-winning goal.

With seconds left to go in the game, broadcaster Al Michaels asked the famous question … and answered it:

“Do you believe in miracles?! Yes!”

Click to listen to the last minute’s play by play with the historic call

From then on, the game has been known as the Miracle on Ice.

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What made the game so important?

The 1980 Winter Olympics was held in a time of political turmoil between the two superpowers, the U.S.A. and the Soviet Union.

A chain of events created a tension-filled political climate that spilled over to  the 1980 Olympic Games.

USA vs USSR was a battle of economic systems: capitalism versus communism … good guys versus bad guys.

“The Soviet’s sports system was established throughout the summer and winter games with explicit aim of winning for reason of prestige to prove that the Socialist regime were superior to the Capitalists.” Source

The Soviet team was stacked with army personnel whose job was playing hockey year around … and winning games … ALL games!

The Soviets were the only “pros” in the Olympics at that time.

On the other hand, The USA’s good guys were a bunch of amateurs — the team was composed of collegiate hockey players.

They were playing for the thrill of the game … and as expression of American pride.

High drama … ripe for a miracle.

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The 1980 Olympics are seen to some in the industry as the “turning point” in the lifeblood of America’s hockey program.

Rather than only the northern states — which had a culture built in around the sport— participating in hockey, the majority of other states joined the youth movement of hockey players.

The period in the 1990s, 10 years after the game, youth hockey had around 200,000 kids enrolled.

15 years later that number climbed to about a half million.

The 1980 Olympics, inspired a wave of youth interest across the nation. Source

Let’s see if the 2019 World Cup win will do the same for women’s soccer….

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