41 years ago on Feb. 22, 1980, in Lake Placid, N.Y., we witnessed one of the greatest moments in sports history. The U.S. Men’s Hockey team beat the defending Olympic champions, USSR (Soviet Union) 4-3. You can still hear Al Michaels broadcast one of the greatest calls in sports, “Do You Believe In Miracles?”
To understand how big of an upset this was, the Soviets were the 4-time defending Olympic champions and had won 5 out of the 6 Olympic gold medals. Obviously, they were favored to win in 1980. The U.S. team was the youngest hockey team in U.S. Olympic history and the youngest hockey team at the 1980 Lake Placid games. The Soviet Union had not lost a hockey game in any Olympics since 1968. Without question, this is one the biggest upsets in sports history.
The win against the Russians didn’t secure the gold for the Americans. It was a round-robin tournament, so the U.S. still needed to beat Finland 2 days later to win the gold medal. Coming from behind and scoring 3 goals in the 3rd period, the U.S. defeated Finland 4-2 to capture the gold medal. Completing one of the most amazing stories in sports.
The story is so enthralling that not 1, but 2 movies have been made about the “Miracle On Ice”. Al Michaels, who has called many great moments in all different sports, talks about how the “Miracle” is special. “I can see it. I can almost smell what the arena smelled like that night. It will never leave.”
Al Michaels and Jim Craig (U.S. goalie on the 1980 gold medal-winning U.S. hockey team) talked about the game and it’s legacy on the Rich Eisen show today.
The “Miracle On Ice” is bigger than sports and will always be remembered. It is one of the moments in time that gives you goose bumps, inspires you to do anything, and makes you swell with pride to be an American!
-- Doug O’Brien