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"Do you believe in miracles? Yes!"

— ABC newscaster Al Michaels

Bill Baker's U.S. Olympic hockey team jersey, 1980
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— Gift of Sports Illustrated

1980 United States Hockey Team
Miracle on Ice

The 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team was a patchwork of college and minor-league players led by coach Herbert Paul Brooks. "Gentlemen," he warned, "you do not have enough talent to win on talent alone." Few outside the team expected much at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York.

Since 1956, teams from the Soviet Union had dominated Olympic ice hockey, and they were the overwhelming favorites in 1980. The upstart Americans stunned the world with a string of upset victories, bringing them to a face-off with the Soviet juggernaut. The mismatch was laden with Cold War tension and supercharged with national pride.

Teamwork trumped talent, and the unlikely Americans handed the Soviets one of the greatest upsets in Olympic history. The dramatic triumph was a welcome international victory for the U.S., already on edge over its hostages in Iran and the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. Truly inspired by its "miracle on ice," the American team advanced to beat Finland and win the gold.

Name: 1980 United States Hockey Team
  • Gold Medalists, ice hockey, Lake Placid Olympics, 1980
  • 4-0-1 Olympic record
  • Averaged 4.7 goals per game
  • 23 team members with average age of 21 years
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National Museum of American History   Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service