Miracle On Ice Essay

983 words - 4 pages

The ?Miracle on Ice? of the 1980 Olympic games in Lake Placid, New York, was arguably the greatest sports performance in the history of athletics. Not only was it the victory of an underdog team, but also it was the victory of an underdog nation. To understand this amazing feat, one must reflect back on the unreasonable times. Just one year earlier the nation was still nursing its wounds from Vietnam, and President Carter?s economic policies had caused an energy crisis and long lines at gas stations. Unemployment and inflation rates were souring, and Carter?s response was to blame the American people. Later he gave a speech known as the ?Malaise Speech.? In that speech he basically blamed American citizens for being too greedy, for doing things such as keeping their thermostats on too high, and taking too many vacations. Shortly after his speech, Iranian militants seized the U. S. Embassy in Tehran and took sixty-six Americans hostage. In July, Marxists launched the invasion of Nicaragua and declared themselves as the ruling power. Also, in December, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, shocking the already overwhelmed president. So in the midst of terrible times, the U.S. managed to overcome some of the diversity by not only conquering the Soviets, but also winning the gold medal.So the gold medal journey begins with Herb Brooks, NCAA coach and student of international hockey. Brooks played for the USA at two Olympics, and was the last man cut from his team in the 1960 Olympics games where America won its first gold medal in hockey. Brooks became the head coach of Minnesota in 1972 and lead the team to three NCAA titles in ten years. In search of his hockey team, he went through several recruiting camps in which he drilled the athletes psychologically and physically. From several hundred prospects, he narrowed his roster to twenty college athletes, mostly hailing from Minnesota and Massachusetts. The team was as follows: Neal Broten, Steve Christoff, Mike Eurizone (captain), John Harrington, Mark Johnson (from the UW), Rob McClanahan, Mark Pavelich, Buzz Schneider, Dave Silk, Eric Strobel, Phil Verchota, Mark Wells, Bill Baker, Dave Christiansan, Ken Morrow, Jack O?Callahan, Mike Ramesy, Bob Suter, and the famous goaltenders Jim Craig and Steve Janaszak.Those twenty men were what Brooks hoped to mold and shape into a ferocious machine. He and they knew that they could not surpass the Soviets in skill, so Brooks emphasized speed, conditioning, and discipline. When their first opportunity arose in the pre-Olympic exhibition game against the Soviets, the U.S. team was manhandled 10-3. Later, a last minute goal by Bill Baker handed them a tie, 2-2, against Sweden. Then a 7-3 victory over Czechoslovakia raised their hopes and showed the team as a medal contender. On their way, they beat...

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