"Do You Believe in Miracles? YESSS!" The 1980 Miracle on Ice!
As far as the Olympics go, Lake Placid's "Miracle on Ice" is probably its biggest claim to fame. I don't think there are too many people around today who don't have at least some idea what it's all about.
This is where it all happened - The Herb Brooks Arena, named after the coach of the famous hockey team. Little did anyone know that night that a "Miracle on Ice" was about to happen.
So What Was the Miracle on Ice?
During the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, the Soviet Olympic hockey team was the undisputed champion of hockey. They had won 4 straight Olympic titles, along with the World Cup and the World Championships. These guys were basically professional hockey players, trained at the best facilities and were seen as hands-down winners for the gold medal this time around, too.
The US Olympic hockey team, on the other hand, was a team of college players - certainly not professional, by any stretch. They were seeded seventh overall, and were not expected to beat the Soviets. The USA team was good, but not in the same league with the pros.
Many people are under the impression that the game played between the Soviets and US was for the gold medal. But that's not true. The US team had already beaten Sweden, Norway, Romania and West Germany to get to play against Czechoslavakia, who they beat handily 7 - 3.
By now, momentum was building and there was actually starting to be some talk that the unthinkable might really happen. Did the US team actually stand a chance against the Soviets?
Before I tell you the answer to that one (as if you didn't already know!) let me take you back in time for a moment to that point in our nation's history. Here's what was going on when the US team skated out onto the ice at 5:06 pm on February 22, 1980:
~things were unsettled in Afghanistan
~we had a hostage crisis in Iran
~President Carter was contemplating boycotting the Summer Olympics in Moscow
~the economy was spiraling downward
I mention these things only to put into perspective how much this hockey game meant, not only as an Olympic competition but as a shot-in-the-arm for the US.
The Soviets played like they were the favorites - kind of nonchalant, not really expecting much from the US team. And in fact, they held the lead for much of the game.
At the end of the first period, the Soviets were leaving the ice a little ahead of schedule. But the American team shot the puck down the ice, and Mark Johnson fired it past the world's best goalie, Vladislav Tretiak, with only 1 second left. The score was now 2 - 2 after one period.
During the second period, the Russians scored the only goal to take a 3 - 2 lead. Tretiak had been replaced in goal by Vladimir Myshkin.
Mark Johnson scored again, causing pandemonium in the stands, and tying the game again at 3 - 3.
In the final period, Mike Eruzione scored the famous fourth and winning goal with 10 interminable minutes left to play. It was delirium in the stands, but 10 minutes is a long time, especially when you're playing the Soviets. After all, they're going to turn up the heat any minute now ...
Well, it never got hotter in that arena! Russia just never had any chances to tie, and the USA just got stronger and more confident.
But I don't want to tell you how it ended that night. Let me show you instead!
Click on the play button at the bottom of the viewer, not the one directly on the screen for the best playback.
Was that game really a big enough deal to be called a Miracle on Ice? Listen to the crowd and then you be the judge!!
After performing their Miracle on Ice, the US team then did go on to win the gold medal in hockey. Just goes to show you what a determined bunch of amateurs can do!
Placid is a
resort town with a small town feel. You can find Olympic-caliber
sports, competitions, world-class
resorts and restaurants, incredible natural beauty, and peace
and relaxation at every step, and at the same time feel like you've
arrived in a good friend's hometown for a visit. It's a place like no