In honor of the 2014 Winter Olympics, I am going to throw it back a few years and highlight one of my favorite Winter Olympic moments.
1980: The Year History Gave Disney Everything it Needed to Make a Fantastic Hockey Movie.
If you haven’t already seen it, stop what you are doing and find a copy of Miracle. I watched it a few nights ago to get pumped for the upcoming Games. (Which, in all honesty, wasn’t really necessary, because nothing gets me more fired up than the thought of watching the land I love dominate at multiple sporting events. USA! USA! USA!) Needless to say, combining all of my favorites things—America, sports, a great story and film—makes me a very happy girl.
Personally, I hate it when people spoil movies for me by telling me the ending. But, since this actually happened, consider it your history lesson for the day.
It is known as the “Miracle on Ice” and took place during the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid. The Cold War was in full swing, and with tension between nations so high, it was uncertain that some countries would even participate in the Games—including the Soviets and their seemingly undefeatable hockey team. But the Soviets did come, expecting to trounce the young group of college and amateur players who made up Team USA. Everyone assumed this would be the case, considering the Soviets had crushed an American all-star team made up of best NHL players just a few months prior. Underdog was an understatement. But a miracle—generated by Team USA’s hard work, talent, determination and teamwork—took place, and a Soviet team that had won the last four ice hockey gold medals, won 27 out of their last 28 games, and outscored their opposition 175-44 felt the sting of defeat. A group of young Americans, who had been former rivals on the ice just a few years before, had come together to give the United States of America one of her most inspiring victories at any Winter Olympics in history.
Now, that is obviously the short version, and I assure you the movie is better than my rambling. But that is my throwback for this Thursday. HOWEVER, I can’t resist telling you a few more fun facts from this story (because I think they are too good not to share)… which will make this a double Throwback Thursday. How is that possible?
This is how:
- In 1960, exactly 20 years earlier, the Soviet hockey team had its gold medal hopes dashed by none other than the resilient American team.
- This was Team USA’s first gold medal for men’s ice hockey, a team considered to be a long shot for the podium.
- This victory has come to be known as the “Forgotten Miracle.”
- Herb Brooks, coach of the 1980 “Miracle” team, was on the roster for the 1960 Olympic team, but was cut one week before the Games started.
- Bill Christian helped lead Team USA to victory in 1960. 20 years later, his son, Dave Christian, would do the same for the 1980 “miracle” team.