“Do You Believe in Miracles?” 44th Anniversary of the Miracle on Ice


Image Courtesy of Steve Fenn

By Luke Weidenkopf 

“Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” exclaimed commentator Al Michaels as the 1980 US Olympic Hockey team beat the USSR 4-3, a feat unfathomable just two weeks earlier. 

The story of the 1980 US Olympic Hockey team is a story known by many Americans thanks to the 2004 sports movie, Miracle. The film starred renowned 80s action star Kurt Russel as the head coach, Herb Brooks. 

Brooks was a hard–nosed coach of the NCAA Minnesota Golden Gophers who strung together years of success during the 1970s under the former player. He was awarded the coaching decision to the surprise of many and was known for being a hard, discipline focused coach who pushed his players to their limit. 

The moment remains one of the greatest sportss moments of all time as well as the greatest hockey moment of all time. The USSR had been an unbeatable team for close to 20 years, with some of the greatest players to ever place the game. The US had been a laughing stock in international hockey, but many did not want to see the US get embarrassed in their own country. 

Hockey is the major event of the Winter Olympics and the US knew they needed to capitalize on this event. The team was full of college hockey players as professional athletes were not allowed to play in the Games. Mike Eurozine was the team captain and was supported by a great future NHL defenseman, Ken Morrow, and goaltender, Jimmy Craig. 

The US team would go onto win the gold medal against Finland completing the miracle. It was a moment that brought hope and prosperity to a nation that had been marred by negative news and social dysfunction. The US has not won a Gold Medal since “The Miracle” and came closest in 2010 Vancouver games where they lost the gold medal to Canada. 

“The Miracle” was the greatest moment in American sports history and is celebrated every year on February 22 (although the miracle itself was completed on February 24).

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