Sports fans know the date very well. It was 36 years ago today, Feb. 24. 1980, when U.S. hockey captain Mike Eruzione and his teammates defeated Finland to win the Gold Medal, completing an incredible two weeks of ice hockey at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y. Of course, two days earlier, Mike scored the most memorable goal in Olympic history that produced the greatest upset of all-time, as the U.S. team defeated the up-to-that-point invincible Soviet Union hockey team. Sports Illustrated selected Mike’s goal and the team’s victory as the greatest sports moment of the 20th century and quite frankly, we don’t see anything ever eclipsing what Mike and his team accomplished in Lake Placid.
The sounds of “USA, USA” in that rink brought chills to the fans in attendance and the millions of people who were watching the games on television. Perhaps our favorite moment came when Captain Mike was on the medal stand and the National Anthem was being played — and Mike urged his teammates to join him on the medal platform. Mike Eruzione and his U.S. Olympic teammates brought national pride to our country in a time of international tensions. It was also a simpler time back then, when Mike and a bunch of college kids shocked the world and brought America to its feet in celebration.