The “Miracle on Ice” is considered the greatest upset and most iconic moment in American sports history. It was a matchup of bitter rivals — and really wasn’t supposed to be that close. The Soviets had a team of the world’s greatest pro players, winning the gold medal in the last four Olympics with a record of 27-1-1, outscoring their opponents 175-44.
Meanwhile, team USA was comprised of just college kids. Helmed by Herb Brooks, they were not only the youngest in the tournament, but also in USA history. During the heat of the cold war, both teams came to face each other and were both unbeaten in the group stage. The Soivets jumped out to an early 2-1 lead, then the U.S. tied in a buzzer-beating goal.
In a shocking move, the USSR pulled starting goalie Vladislav Tretiak, who was known at the time as the world’s best goalie. However, team USA couldn’t take advantage and trailed 3-2 after two periods. In the third period, team USA stormed back — goalie Jim Craig and the USA defense staved off one last Russian attack and accomplished the impossible. They came back to beat Finland in their next game to win the unlikeliest of gold medals. The craziest part is that ABC broadcasted the game in tape delay to be aired in primetime. Almost 40 years later, people still look back at it as more than just a game.