'Do You Believe In Miracles?' U.S. Olympic Hockey's Miracle on Ice

By | February 22, 2021

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United States Olympic Hockey players jump with jubilation after beating the Soviet Union hockey team on February 22, 1980 during the Winter Olympics. The game was dubbed The Miracle On Ice. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

In February 1980, the U.S. Olympic hockey team won a game against the Soviet Union. It was a game they weren't supposed to win -- because nobody was supposed to beat the USSR, who'd dominated Olympic hockey for decades. The unbelievable nature of the victory inspired sportscaster Al Michaels to exclaim:

Do you believe in miracles? Yes!

Those six words summed up the emotions experienced by millions of viewers worldwide. Michaels' line became one of the most famous calls in the history of sports broadcasting, and the game became known as the "Miracle on Ice."

There Were No Doubts The Soviet Union Would Take Gold Medal Once Again

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Going into the 1980 Olympic games, the Soviet Union had won gold in the past four Olympics, dating back to 1964. They had not even lost an Olympic game since 1968 so no one doubted they would triumph the tournament once again. This expectation was solidified even more when, three days before the start of the Olympics, the Soviets defeated the United States 10-3 in an exhibition game at New York’s Madison Square Garden. At this moment, The Soviets were worry-free and utterly underestimated their American opponents. The day before the worldwide affair, columnist Dave Anderson wrote in The New York Times, “Unless the ice melts, or unless the United States team or another team performs a miracle, as did the American squad in the 1960 Winter Olympics, the Russians are expected to easily win the Olympic gold medal for the sixth time in the last seven tournaments."