Since scoring The Goal to beat the Soviet Union and helping the U.S. hockey team claim the gold medal in 1980, Captain Mike Eruzione has had so many glorious moments on the national and in some cases, international stage, such as lighting the cauldron at the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002. His goal and his team’s victory were named the greatest sports moment of the 20th century — which is saying a lot — and our hometown hero has become the foremost symbol of the joy and international pride that this quadrennial sports competition evokes.
Those who watched the Republican convention Thursday night before Mitt Romney spoke saw Mike Eruzione — after accepting an invitation from the former governor of Massachusetts — addressing the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida before thousands of people inside the arena, an estimated 25 million people watched Romney’s speech later that evening.
As one would expect from Mike Eruzione, a noted inspirational speaker, he delivered an outstanding speech that was well-appreciated by the crowd. Eruzione spoke eloquently in support of the Republican nominee and how his efforts helped save the Salt Lake City Olympics that had been mired in scandal prior to his arrival.
But Eruzione had won the crowd over even before he uttered a word. Those familiar chants of “USA, USA, USA,” could be heard loudly and clearly on television, a direct remembrance of those very prideful cheers that echoed in that Lake Placid arena and throughout our country.
Mike Eruzione holds a very special place in the hearts of sports, Olympic, and hockey fans and Americans everywhere. His speaking appearance at the Republican National Convention — just prior to Hollywood actor and director Clint Eastwood and Florida Senator Marco Rubio — only adds to the legend that Mike Eruzione has become in the years following the 1980 Olympics.