No matter which way you look at it, the “Miracle on Ice” is one of the greatest moments is American sports history — a true David versus Goliath tale. With the Winter Olympics in full tilt, this historic game is the focus of this week’s #ThrowbackThursday post.
Legendary commentator, Al Michaels, cemented this event in history with his iconic call in the waning seconds, “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!”
On February 22, 1980, in Lake Placid, New York, the United States faced-off against the reigning gold medalist Soviet Union team. This was an extremely lopsided matchup on paper, considering that the Soviet roster was loaded with professional talent and the American team was the youngest team in the tournament comprised of only amateurs.
Keep in mind, these two countries were bitter Cold War rivals at the time and this matchup was more than just another game.
The action was deadlocked after one period of action. In the second period, the USA allowed another goal to find themselves in the hole and down 3-2. Fortunately for USA Coach Herb Brooks in more ways than one (lucky S.O.B. had Kurt Russell play him in the movie), his team was able to rally themselves out of the deficit to score two unanswered third period goals and take the contest 4-3.
Coach Brooks’ powerful speech set the tone for his men. Below is his speech as portrayed by Kurt Russell in the 2004 movie “Miracle“.
Team USA went on to beat Finland in the next round, clinching the gold medal.
Hockey has been one of the biggest attractions of the Winter Games for the past 20 years, however, this year fans can expect a different product on the ice. Why? The NHL is participating in the quadrennial event.
The NHL has a variety of good reasons to hold its players out of Olympic participation, but selfishly speaking, it’s hard to watch go-karts race after you are used to stock cars.
Aside from potential terrorism (elephant in the room given that South Korea is the host), the risk of injury to superstar athletes has to be the biggest concern for the NHL. Back in the Sochi 2014 games, numerous athletes sustained season-ending injuries and were unable to return to their clubs following The Games.
What most do not realize it that in between the last Olympics and this one, something changed. The money. See, the IOC paid for all of the incurred expenses for the NHL athletes going to the Olympics through the previous games, but now, they are no longer covering those costs.
I am sure the hockey match-ups will be great even without the professionals. Who knows, maybe we will even see a miracle.
-Jordan Kurtz AKA Kurtzy F is a founding member of Comments From The Peanut Gallery