#TBT 38 Years Ago Today: 1980 USA Olympic Hockey’s Miracle on Ice

1980 Winter Olympic USA Hockey victory

On this day 38 years ago – February 22, 1980 – hockey’s Miracle on Ice happened.

It marked a national day of pride in America.

The 1980 USA Olympic Hockey Team birthed a miracle in the highly competitive arena of international sports.

Known as the Miracle on Ice, an unlikely victory took place at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY and lifted America out of its funk.

 

During that precarious era in our nation’s history, the 1970s was a decade comprised of war protests, a Presidential scandal, and a troubling economy.

In the midst of those uncertain and depressing times, Americans were nervous and ripe for a miracle to lift their spirits.

And, then came along an unexpected special moment in sports history. The event produced one of the most amazing upsets the sports world has ever witnessed.

1980 USA Men’s Hockey Team’s Stunning Win

The 1980 USA Olympic Hockey Team’s stunning win over the heavily favored Soviet Union National Hockey Team still stands as one of the greatest victories in the history of team sports.

This USA win remains an unforgettable highlight of the 1980 Winter Olympic Games.

The semi-final match-up between the USA and the USSR not only paired two world super powers facing off against each other.

The game also featured a team of much younger American collegiate stars skating against older, better skilled and highly experienced Russians. These Russian players had been playing hockey professionally in Europe for many years.

The Soviets Dominated International Hockey

The legendary Soviets dominated international hockey. They captured gold medals at the four previous Winter Olympics and held claim to 14 of the past 17 World Hockey Championships.

The Soviets were major favorites. The scrappy Americans’ success in the semi-final would require a divine act to win.

Surprisingly, the Americans stayed close during the first two periods. Then, midway through the third period, the youthful Americans shocked the favored Russians. Captain Mike Eruzione found the back of the net past the Russian goalie and gave the USA a 4 – 3 lead.

The Russians found themselves trailing in the third period of this hockey game. They were unable to make up the American lead against a little known USA goalie named Jim Craig. Craig successfully turned back 30 shots that day against the otherwise superior Russians.

NBC Sportscaster Al Michaels, “Do You Believe in Miracles?”

With the Americans clinging to a one goal lead, the game clock slowly wound down. As the final buzzer sounded, legendary NBC sportscaster Al Michaels shouted, “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!”

In the case of the 1980 USA Olympic Hockey Team, the unbelievable happened in Lake Placid, NY.

It became known as one of the greatest upsets in the history of sports.

This uplifting sports event that happened 37 years ago today will be forever remembered as the Miracle on Ice.

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