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Larry G Poss
Miracle On Ice

The underdog Americans, coached by Herb Brooks, upset the Soviets when Mike Eruzione scored midway through the third period of the semifinal game to give Team USA a 4-3 victory. The Americans won the gold medal by defeating Finland 4-2.

Over 1,100 athletes from 37 countries participated in the 1980 Winter Games, but the only ones most people will ever remember are 21–year-old American speed skater Eric Heiden, who won five individual gold medals, and the U.S. hockey team—a bunch of college kids (average age 22) who beat the unbeatable Russians.

Miracle on Ice

No one before or since Heiden has won five individual gold medals in a single Olympic Games (three of swimmer Mark Spitz's seven gold medals were for relay races). And Heiden's sweep of the men's speed skating events has never been duplicated.

The hockey team, on the other hand, was a decided underdog. Seeded seventh out of 12 teams in the first round, they had also been routed, 10–3, by the Soviet Union in an exhibition game only a week before the Olympics.

Nevertheless, the Americans reached the final round with a 4–0–1 record. Playing in front of a boisterous, flag-waving home crowd, the U.S. upset the Soviets, 4–3 (captain Mike Eruzione scored the winning goal midway through the third period and goalie Jim Craig made 39 saves), then beat Finland, 4–2, to win the gold medal. “Do you believe in miracles?” asked ABC-TV announcer Al Michaels as the final seconds ticked off against the Russians. “Ye-s-s-s!

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