Term commonly used to describe the United States
and highly emotional victory over the Soviet Union
in ice hockey
in the 1980 Olympic Winter Games
, held in Lake Placid
, New York
. The game had an impact well beyond purely hockey, as it took place around the height of the Cold War
On February 22, 1980, the American squad, composed of amateur college players and coached by Herb Brooks, upset the highly favored and older Soviets 4-3. The Soviets were professionals (years before the first Soviets played in the NHL) and had soundly beaten other American teams in the past. U.S. captain Mike Eruzione scored the winning goal, breaking a 3-3 tie midway through the third period. As the clock reached zero, ABC's Al Michaels memorably proclaimed "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!", and a wild flag-waving celebration ensued.
What many forget is that the US/USSR game did not actually win the gold medal for the US due to the round robin structure of the medal round. The Americans rallied from behind to beat Finland two days later 4-2 and win the gold medal.
The significance of the game is often debated. It helped spur patriotic feelings in many Americans against the "evil" Soviets, who had invaded Afghanistan.
In addition, it increased interest in hockey in the United States, such that two decades later, the amount of Americans in the NHL has increased dramatically.
It's one of those "where were you when....?" moments, for many people who grew up during that time period (I was only 3, and don't remember the event...)