Remembering Team USA's incredible 'Miracle On Ice' in 1980

Yahoo Sports

Among all of the United States’ incredible moments in the Olympic Games are a few that standout as especially triumphant, including the USA hockey team’s defeat of the Soviet Union at the height of the second Cold War. Let’s take a look back at one of the great underdog victories in sports history.

Though at the time this was merely a hard check, the visual of team USA’s youngest player, Mike Ramsey, upending Valeri Kharlamov now serves as a kind of effigy for Team USA’s historic upset. Heading into the game, Kharlamov had won eight World Championship gold medals and two Olympic gold medals with the Soviet hockey team.

Coach Brooks was visibly emotional at the April press conference in 1980 in which he announced he would step down as the coach of the University of Minnesota. He went on to have a long career as a coach in the NHL before eventually returning to the national stage to coach Team USA for the 2002 Salt Lake City games.

<p>Heading into the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, the USA men’s hockey team were the definition of underdogs. Yet somehow the group of young college players found themselves one win away from playing in the gold medal game. Their only obstacle? The most formidable team in the world: the Soviet Union. </p>
Miracle On Ice: USA beats the Soviet Union

Heading into the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, the USA men’s hockey team were the definition of underdogs. Yet somehow the group of young college players found themselves one win away from playing in the gold medal game. Their only obstacle? The most formidable team in the world: the Soviet Union.

<p><span>Though at the time this was merely a hard check, the visual of team USA’s youngest player, Mike Ramsey, upending Valeri Kharlamov now serves as a kind of effigy for Team USA’s historic upset. Heading into the game, Kharlamov had won eight World Championship gold medals and two Olympic gold medals with the Soviet hockey team.</span> </p>
Miracle On Ice: USA beats the Soviet Union

Though at the time this was merely a hard check, the visual of team USA’s youngest player, Mike Ramsey, upending Valeri Kharlamov now serves as a kind of effigy for Team USA’s historic upset. Heading into the game, Kharlamov had won eight World Championship gold medals and two Olympic gold medals with the Soviet hockey team.

<p>Team USA piled onto goalie Jim Craig in celebration of their improbable 4-3 win over the Soviets to advance to the gold medal game. Fittingly, a fan in the stands behind them waved an American flag. </p>
Miracle On Ice: USA beats the Soviet Union

Team USA piled onto goalie Jim Craig in celebration of their improbable 4-3 win over the Soviets to advance to the gold medal game. Fittingly, a fan in the stands behind them waved an American flag.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad
<p>Nearly 35 million people were tuned into the showdown between the USA and the Soviet Union when Mike Eruzione scored the goal that would win the game. You can imagine what the streets of Lake Placid looked and sounded like as fans cheered one of America’s greatest Olympic achievements. </p>
Miracle On Ice: USA beats the Soviet Union

Nearly 35 million people were tuned into the showdown between the USA and the Soviet Union when Mike Eruzione scored the goal that would win the game. You can imagine what the streets of Lake Placid looked and sounded like as fans cheered one of America’s greatest Olympic achievements.

<p>Then president Jimmy Carter called coach Brooks to congratulate him after their win over the Soviet Union. Cold War era politics played a huge part in the rivarly between the two nations at the Olympics, so the win was about more than just a hockey game. It was a national achievement that transcended sports. </p>
Miracle On Ice: USA beats the Soviet Union

Then president Jimmy Carter called coach Brooks to congratulate him after their win over the Soviet Union. Cold War era politics played a huge part in the rivarly between the two nations at the Olympics, so the win was about more than just a hockey game. It was a national achievement that transcended sports.

<p>While it might’ve been the game that would remain in the history books, the win over the Soviets didn’t win the gold for Team USA. For that, they had to go on and beat Finland. This is their celebration after securing the gold medal for just the second time ever. </p>
Miracle On Ice: USA beats the Soviet Union

While it might’ve been the game that would remain in the history books, the win over the Soviets didn’t win the gold for Team USA. For that, they had to go on and beat Finland. This is their celebration after securing the gold medal for just the second time ever.

<p>The United States took the ice as the ultimate victors, flanked by the Soviet Union and Sweden, the silver and bronze medalists respectively. That was the last time the Star Spangled Banner was played during the medal ceremony for a men’s Olympic hockey tournament. </p>
Miracle On Ice: USA beats the Soviet Union

The United States took the ice as the ultimate victors, flanked by the Soviet Union and Sweden, the silver and bronze medalists respectively. That was the last time the Star Spangled Banner was played during the medal ceremony for a men’s Olympic hockey tournament.

<p>Team USA star and honorary cowboy, Mark Johnson, was front and center with the rest of his teammates and coaches as they celebrated their victory on the White House balcony with President Carter. </p>
Miracle On Ice: USA beats the Soviet Union

Team USA star and honorary cowboy, Mark Johnson, was front and center with the rest of his teammates and coaches as they celebrated their victory on the White House balcony with President Carter.

<p>Team USA member Eric Heiden was accompanied by captain Eruzione and Coach Brooks as they helped throw the first pitch at the New York Yankee’s April 19th, 1980 home opener against the Milwaukee Brewers. It was the first baseball game that Heiden had ever attended. </p>
Miracle On Ice: USA beats the Soviet Union

Team USA member Eric Heiden was accompanied by captain Eruzione and Coach Brooks as they helped throw the first pitch at the New York Yankee’s April 19th, 1980 home opener against the Milwaukee Brewers. It was the first baseball game that Heiden had ever attended.

<p><span>Coach Brooks was visibly emotional at the April press conference in 1980 in which he announced he would step down as the coach of the University of Minnesota. He went on to have a long career as a coach in the NHL before eventually returning to the national stage to coach Team USA for the 2002 Salt Lake City games.</span> </p>
Miracle On Ice: USA beats the Soviet Union

Coach Brooks was visibly emotional at the April press conference in 1980 in which he announced he would step down as the coach of the University of Minnesota. He went on to have a long career as a coach in the NHL before eventually returning to the national stage to coach Team USA for the 2002 Salt Lake City games.

<p>It had been 22 years since the United States had won the gold when Brooks took on the coaching duties for Team USA in 2002. They went on to win silver – the first Olympic hockey medal for the United States since the ‘Miracle on Ice’. </p>
Miracle On Ice: USA beats the Soviet Union

It had been 22 years since the United States had won the gold when Brooks took on the coaching duties for Team USA in 2002. They went on to win silver – the first Olympic hockey medal for the United States since the ‘Miracle on Ice’.

What to Read Next