Miracle on Ice, 1980 Olympic Men’s Hockey Team (Cold War)

The “Miracle on Ice” is the name in American popular culture for a medal-round men’s ice hockey game during the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, New York, on Friday, February 22. The United States team made up of amateur and collegiate players and led by coach Herb Brooks, defeated the Soviet team, who were considered to be the best ice hockey team in the world at the time.

Team USA went on to win the gold medal by winning its last match over Finland. The Soviet Union took the silver medal by beating Sweden in its final game.

In 1999, Sports Illustrated named the “Miracle on Ice” the Top Sports Moment of the 20th Century. As part of its 100th anniversary celebrations in 2008, the International Ice Hockey Federation chose the “Miracle on Ice” as the century’s number-one international ice hockey story.

The Soviet and American teams were natural rivals due to the decades-old Cold War. In addition, President Jimmy Carter was at the time considering a U.S. boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics, to be held in Moscow, in protest of the December 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. On February 9, the same day that the American and Soviet teams met in an exhibition game inNew York City,U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance denounced the impendingMoscow games at a meeting of the International Olympic Committee. President Carter eventually decided in favor of the summer boycott.


The Soviet Unionentered the Olympic tournament as heavy favorites, having won the ice hockey gold medal in 1956 and every year since 1964.  In the four Olympics after the Soviet squad was upset by Team USA at Squaw Valley in 1960, Soviet teams had gone 27–1–1 (W-L-T) and outscored the opposition 175–44. In head-to-head match-ups against theUnited States, the cumulative score over that period was 28-7. The Soviet players were amateurs (some were active-duty military) who played in a well-developed league with world class training facilities. They were led by legendary players in world ice hockey, such as Boris Mikhailov (a top line right winger and team captain), Vladislav Tretiak (considered by many to be the best ice hockey goaltender in the world at the time), the speedy and skilled Valeri Kharlamov, as well as talented, young, and dynamic players such as defenseman Viacheslav Fetisov and forwards Vladimir Krutov and Sergei Makarov. From that team, Tretiakretiak, Kharlamov, and Fetisov would eventually be enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

“11 seconds, you’ve got 10 seconds, the countdown going on right now! Morrow, up to Silk. 5 seconds left in the game. Do you believe in miracles?  YES!”

– Al Michaels, ABC Sports

Full Document: Miracle on Ice


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One Response to Miracle on Ice, 1980 Olympic Men’s Hockey Team (Cold War)

  1. This unique article, “Miracle on Ice, 1980 Olympic Mens Hockey
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