‘Do You Believe in Miracles ?’
"Do you believe in miracles?" Well, it was 41 years ago today that Americans were riveted to their television sets to watch what was believed to be an impossible task of beating the Soviet Union in Olympic Ice Hockey. What they saw would truly make you believe in miracles.
The Soviets came into the game with an overall record of 27 wins, one loss and one tie. They also had what was considered the best goaltender in ice hockey in 1980, Vladislav Tretiak. The Soviets had also won 6 of the last 7 gold medals in Olympic Ice Hockey. Their team was comprised of professional players compared to the United States team which only had amateurs and collegiate players.
After one period of play, the score was tied at 2-2. At the second intermission, the Soviets led 3 to 2 with 20 minutes of hockey left to be played. Then came the third and final period. The U.S. tied the game at 3 on a shot by Mark Johnson and shortly thereafter Mike Eruzione fired the puck into the net. With some ten minutes left to go, it was up to Goaltender Jim Craig to shut down a furious attack by the Soviets and shut them down he did.
As the game dwindled down to the final seconds, broadcaster Al Michaels uttered his famous and now signature line of “Do you believe in miracles?...Yes!” as the horn sounded to end what was a monumental day in sports history. It also set off celebrations throughout the United States as American patriotism reached historic proportions.
For those who were not around in 1980, the Soviet and American teams were natural rivals due to years of a “Cold War” between the two countries. Plus, then President Jimmy Carter was threatening a U.S. boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics which were scheduled to be held in Moscow, in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December of 1979.
Many people remember this game as the gold medal game, but that was not the case. After such an emotional victory, the U.S. then had to play a very tough Finland team for the gold medal. Somehow they had enough left in them to finish the miracle be winning the gold by the score of 4 to 2 with 3 third period goals.
It was a "miracle" game for the ages and I was glad to be around to witness it.
KEEP READING: Here are 50 of the most famous sports goofs