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Miracle On Ice Essay

1372 words - 6 pages

Years after a shadow of darkness swallowed the happiness of the nation, February 22, 1980 marked a day that reinvigorated hope in the American population. Events that occurred during the 1970’s and in 1980 had caused America’s national pride to be wounded: the Fall of South Vietnam to the Watergate Scandal that resulted in President Nixon’s resignation. In 1977, Jimmy Carter was sworn into office as President of the United States of America. Three years later, the United States of America hosted the XIII Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York in 1980. At that time, Americans had very little to look to: due to the Iranian hostage crisis, struggling economy and the Cold War. ...view middle of the document...

Craig Patrick was hired as the assistant coach to Brooks and Dr. Nagobads was the physician. Before being hired as the head coach of Team USA ice hockey, Brooks won three National College Athletic Association hockey championships with the University of Minnesota between the years 1974 and 1979. Herb Brooks had approached his coaching technique in a unique way. Because he wanted not only physically strong athletes but mentally strong ones too, he made them take psychological tests to see how they would act under stress. He kept a strictly objective relationship the athletes. “He pats you on the back but always lets you know he has the knife in the other hand,” signifying that his source of motivation was through fear.1 He focused on conditioning them and pushing them to their limit.
Before the games began in Lake Placid, Team USA played the Soviet Union in an exhibition game at Madison Square Garden. The Soviets destroyed the US team 10 to 3. Sweden and the United States went up against each other in the Olympic opener. The game ended in a tie. Two days later, the United States played Czechoslovakia and won 7-3. Team US beat Norway, 5-1; they then beat the Romanians, 8-2. Continuing their winning streak, they beat West Germany, 4-2. The next game they’d play would be on February 22, 1980.
On February 22, 1980, the US had the chance to rematch the Soviet Union. The average age of Team USA ice hockey was 21. It was not only the youngest team in US history in the Olympics, but was also the youngest team in the Olympic games that year. The game was a “faceoff of men & boys, champions & amateurs, communism & capitalism.”2 Only few believed in the youthful team USA. The Soviets had won the last four Olympic hockey golds and had not lost a hockey game in the Olympics since 1968. The Soviets were also seeded number one, while the Americans were seventh-seeded. Many feared that the US team would relive the exhibition game that had occurred only a few days earlier.
In the first period, Sergei Makarov gave the Soviets a 2-1 lead. However, with just a few seconds left in the first period, Mark Johnson tied the game, 2-2. Once the second period began, the Soviets returned and protested to take a 3-2. The second period ended with the Soviets still in the lead. Within nine minutes of the third period, Johnson once again tied the game with a power play goal, making it 3-3. Less than two minutes later, Team USA captain, Mike Eruzione, picked up a loose puck in the Soviet zone and scored with a wrist shot. The Americans for the first time in the game had the lead. With 10 minutes still to play, USA goalie, Jim Craig, made save after save to remain in the lead and guarantee a US victory of the Soviets. Fans all over the country erupted in joy and celebrated the victory that is now known as “Miracle on Ice.” The miracle brought an ideological victory in the Cold War to the US. “A bunch of unheralded...

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