February 22, 2009, - 2:03 pm

USA! USA! USA!: 29 Years Ago Today

By Debbie Schlussel
Hard to believe that it’s already been 29 years since the USA Hockey Team beat the Soviets in the semi-finals of the 1980 Olympic Games in Lake Placid. But it happened on February 22, 1980.
I’ve written about the “Miracle on Ice” many times, and noted how it’s one of the major events that sparked the Reagan Revolution, from which Americans felt proud to be American again, after the ravaging of the country by Jimmy Carter (it was the tail end of the Carter years). It’s part of a chain of events that gave voters the courage to put an end to Carter liberalism and send Reagan to the White House for the next eight years. As I’ve also noted, it’s one of the main highlights of a film that our hostages in Iran saw upon their release, showing them what they missed while in the captivity of Islamic kidnappers.

miracleonice.jpg

As I’ve noted also, these kids were amateurs (mostly from working class, blue collar families), unlike the pros who play in the Olympics today. My friend, Mark Wells, who scored three goals as a member of the US Hockey Team, never made it big. As I’ve written on this site, he lives in the Detroit area where, for years after the Olympic victory, he slaved nights as a shift manager for Ram’s Horn 24-hour Restaurants.
As I always say, too bad there isn’t an Al-Qaeda hockey team (or an Islamic hockey team) for us to beat to get out of the Barack Malaise Days ahead.
Do you believe in miracles?! Not from Obama, I don’t.
Read my review of the movie, “Miracle.”

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7 Responses

“I’ve written about the “Miracle on Ice” many times, and noted how it’s one of the major events at the beginning of the Reagan Revolution, from which Americans felt proud to be American again, after the ravaging of the country by Jimmy Carter.”
Carter was still not finished ravaging the country when this happened. Reagan was not sworn in as President until nearly a year later in 1981.
So, just when did the Reagan Revolution start? One year (or more) before he was sworn in, or when he was sworn into office?
[RBB: OF COURSE, CARTER WAS STILL PREZ, BUT THE REAGAN REVOLUTION BEGAN BEFORE REAGAN BECAME PRESIDENT. DS]

rbb on February 22, 2009 at 2:45 pm

Team USA beating the Russians was a moment I will never forget. My wife is no hockey fan, but even she watched the whole game with me on the small black and white tv we had in our apartment. We missed the gold medal game because we went to church that morning, but couldn’t wait to get home to hear the results.

victor on February 22, 2009 at 4:51 pm

Debbie, that was a long time ago. To me, guys like Mark Wells are lucky.

Anonymous1 on February 22, 2009 at 8:34 pm

“the USA Hockey Team beat the Soviets in the semi-finals of the 1980 Olympic Games”
Technically it wasn’t in the semi-finals, it was a total points tournament. If Finland had beaten the USA in the last game, the Soviets actually would have won the gold medal. Common mistake though.
The USA won gold, the Soviets still got the silver, Sweden claimed the bronze and Finland got nothing for coming in fourth place.
http://www.infoplease.com/ipsa/A0301105.html

James Scearce on February 22, 2009 at 9:26 pm

Debbie: You are wrong on the timing of the game in connection with the Reagan Revolution. The game was played BEFORE the election of Reagan. Reagan was elected in November 1980. He was inaurgerated in 1981.
You are correct in that the victory reflected a new mood in the country, one from defeatism to defiant optomism, which culminated in the repudiation of Jimmy Carter defeatism.
[I: NOT WRONG. PLEASE READ MORE CLOSELY. AS I NOTED ON THE COLUMN, I'M WELL AWARE THAT CARTER WAS PREZ, AND I ALSO NOTE THAT IT GOT PEOPLE PATRIOTIC AGAIN AND WAS REALLY THE FIRST REAL BIG EVEN IN THE REAGAN REVOLUTION. SINCE WHEN DOES THE REAGAN REVOLUTION BEGIN WHEN REAGAN WAS PRESIDENT. SORRY, BUT IT STARTED WELL BEFORE THAT.
BUT WILL CLARIFY IN THE POST, SINCE YOU ARE THE SECOND ONE WHO THOUGHT I WAS UNAWARE OF SOMETHING OF WHICH I'M QUITE AWARE. ALSO NOTE MY ANALOGY OF NEEDING AN OLYMPIC VICTORY OVER AL-QAEDA'S HOCKEY TEAM TO HELP GET US OUT OF THE BARACK MALAISE DAYS AHEAD. I SUGGEST YOU READ MY COLUMN ON THE MIRACLE ON ICE AND THE MOVIE, "MIRACLE," WHICH IS LINKED IN THIS POST, TO GET MORE OF THE GIST OF THIS IDEA THAT THIS WIN WAS A SPARK IN THE REAGAN REVOLUTION (WHICH BEGAN, AGAIN, WHILE CARTER WAS PREZ, NOT AFTER. THANKS. DS]

ira on February 22, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Something else I remember about those Olympic games that is not directly related to the hockey Gold but I believe is relevant to Debbie’s comments.
I am old enough to remember that the Canadian embassy actually hid several Americans (I don’t remember the exact number) and smuggled them out of Iran after the hostages were seized. This was no simple matter, and required a lot of courage (as well as great planning and anything else required in such an operation). We don’t hear much about this anymore, I think that is a shame.
At the opening ceremonies, when the Canadian athletes entered the stadium the crowed gave them a very long and enthusiastic standing ovation. The Canadians had done more for our hostages than President malaise (aka Jimmy Carter) did. At the time, instead of actually doing something regarding the hostages and their captors in Iran President malaise was working on PR for his boycott of the Summer Olympics to take place later that year in Moscow.
The Canadians apparently cared more and did more for Americans than our own lame excuse for a President did. Quite a contrast!

i_am_me on February 23, 2009 at 9:13 am

Wininng a hockey game was nice but it had zero effect on the Cold War (and was cold comfort for me during the hurt of the “national malaise”). Sort of like Hitler really (who was planning on conquering Europe)giving 5 pfennigs about Jesse Owens triumphs in the 1936 Berlin Olympic game. That story gets retold over and over again and made much more then it really was.
On a related note in baseball the deification of Jackie Robinson has also taken on ludicrous proportions. I looked at The New York Times for April 16, 1947 and Robinson’s breaking the color barrier the previous afternoon was the third item on the sports headlines that day.

Ripper on February 23, 2009 at 9:38 am

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