Thought this #TBT blog would rekindle memories of perhaps the greatest upset in team sports that transpired 41 years ago this week.
But first, here’s a bit of context.
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.
February 22, 1980 marked a national day of pride as it brought forth a miracle in the highly competitive arena of international sports.
Known as the Miracle on Ice, an unlikely hockey victory took place at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY and lifted America out of its funk. The event birthed one of the most amazing upsets in the history of sports.
Team USA’s stunning upset 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 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.
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 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 and divine sports event will be forever remembered as the Miracle on Ice.
MIKE on sports!