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Famous Olympians come and go, but Al Michaels is forever.
This truth was readily apparent on Tuesday afternoon when American runner and bronze medalist Emma Coburn totally had a fangirl moment during an interview with the famous NBC broadcaster.
Asked by Michaels on how she got into the steeplechase, Coburn instead took the opportunity to credit Michaels and his iconic call of the 1980 U.S. hockey team’s upset of the Soviet Union for inspiring her to work toward her Olympic dream.
“I grew up playing hockey and you are like a god to me,” the 25-year-old Coburn said to Michaels. “You’re like a hero to me. I am so star struck right now.”
To put Michaels’ wide-reaching fame into perspective here, Coburn was still 10 years away from even being born when he yelled his famous “Do you believe in miracles?” line during the Americans’ shocking semifinal win over the USSR.
She was 14 when the movie “Miracle” introduced the call to a new generation.
“(That) was my first Olympic moment,” Coburn continued. “It was my first memory of watching something about the Olympics and being inspired. So thank you for being a big reason of why I’m here.”
She ended with a confession.
“My heart is beating so fast while meeting you.”
Judging from the picture of when the two met, we tend to believe her.
Michaels, 71, looked equal parts bemused and appreciative before trying to deflect the attention.
“I have to introduce you to the real guys who did it like Jim Craig and Mike Eruzione,” he said.
“I wouldn’t be able to handle that,” Coburn laughed.
The photogenic Coburn — she recently appeared in ESPN: The Magazine’s body issue — has become one of the breakout American stars of these Olympic games after winning the country’s first steeplechase medal since 1984. She told Michaels that she’s already looking forward to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and hopes the 2024 Olympics will be held in Los Angeles so she can cap her career on home soil.
One thing’s for certain: Wherever those Games are held, it’s likely Michaels will be there.