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Sports Then and Now



40 Years Ago: Remembering the Miracle on Ice 0

Posted on February 22, 2020 by Dean Hybl

For anyone who remembers the U.S. Hockey team’s shocking victory over the seemingly unbeatable Russians on February 22, 1980, the fact that it has now been forty years since that amazing night likely does little to dim your memory of what has become known in sports lexicon as “The Miracle on Ice.”

I was a 12-year-old growing up in Southern Virginia, a place no one would ever confuse for being a hockey mecca. However, we were big fans of the Winter Olympics, most especially because they were being held in the United States in Lake Placid, New York.

Unlike today where we have hundreds of television stations, not to mention the internet, and you can watch coverage seemingly all day and all night, in 1980 most of the coverage occurred during the evening hours and often events were shown on tape delay. However, because we didn’t have a news network on our phone, it was easy to not know the results when watching the show each night.

By the time the U.S. was going to play Russia in the hockey semifinals, the two week run of the Olympics was nearing conclusion.

American Eric Heiden had already won four speed skating gold medals in record time and the next day would claim his fifth in the men’s 10,000 meters.

The popular event of figure skating had produced heartbreak and disappointment for the Americans. Linda Fratianne had just missed out on a gold medal in the women’s figure skating and Charles Tickner claimed bronze in the men’s figure skating, but the biggest heartbreak came in the pair skating. The five-time U.S. Champion duo of Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner were forced to withdraw from the competition because Gardner had a serious thigh injury.

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