1980 Olympics

At the 1980 Winter Olympics hosted in Lake Placid, New York, one ice hockey event was held: Men's Ice Hockey, played at the Olympic Center, now known as the Herb Brooks Arena.

Background Edit

These Olympics came at a difficult time for American-Soviet relations, as they were deep in the Cold War. Only months before the games began, the USSR had invaded Afghanistan, and there was a possibility that the strong Soviet team might not show up. However, they competed in the Lake Placid games in the end, although the Americans later boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.

The Soviets had won every Winter Olympics ice hockey tournament since 1960 Olympics, were well-seasoned and had been playing together for many years (though they lacked young players). In contrast, the Americans were a collection of college students (most from the rival schools of University of Minnesota and Boston University) with little history of playing together. However, the US team also featured several highly promising players who would go on to have successful careers in the National Hockey League after the Olympics.

Three days before the Olympics, Coach Herb Brooks scheduled an exhibition game at Madison Square Garden in New York City against the Soviet team. The Americans lost 10 - 3, and Jack O'Callahan (defense) tore a ligament in his knee, though he returned before the medal round. Coach Brooks gave only a few interviews after the game.

Despite these setbacks, Brooks managed to unify his players, training them for a year (the core of the team had been assembled since the 1979 Ice Hockey World Championship tournament in Moscow), and led them to victory. In the end, the Americans were better prepared both physically and mentally than their opponents.


TeamUSA1980 stamp

The "Miracle on Ice" on a Paraguayan stamp

The USA vs USSR game, called the "Miracle on Ice" in the United States, is the best-remembered game of the tournament and the best-remembered international hockey game in the United States. It was the USA's penultimate game of the tournament's round-robin medal round. The USA's final game, against Finland, was the game which actually won the gold medal for the United States. Finland finished 4th in the overall standings. Another upset which is not always noticed, is when Poland defeated the much better team of Finland 5-4 during the Preliminary round.


1980 USA Olympic team


Gold: Silver: Bronze:
Flag of the United States United States
Jim Craig
Jack O'Callahan
Bill Baker
Ken Morrow
Mike Ramsey
Bob Suter
Dave Christian
Dave Silk
Steve Janaszak
Mark Johnson
Rob McClanahan
John Harrington
Mark Pavelich
Buzz Schneider
Steve Christoff
Neal Broten
Mike Eruzione
Eric Strobel
Mark Wells
Phil Verchota
Flag of the Soviet Union Soviet Union
Helmuts Balderis
Zinetula Bilyaletdinov
Viacheslav Fetisov
Aleksandr Golikov
Vladimir Golikov
Alexei Kasatonov
Valeri Kharlamov
Vladimir Krutov
Yuri Lebedev
Sergei Makarov
Aleksandr Maltsev
Boris Mikhailov
Vladimir Myshkin
Vasili Pervukhin
Vladimir Petrov
Aleksandr Skvortsov
Sergei Starikov
Valeri Vasiliev
Vladislav Tretiak
Viktor Zhluktov
Flag of Sweden Sweden
Pelle Lindbergh
William Löfquist
Tomas Jonsson
Sture Andersson
Ulf Weinstock
Jan Eriksson
Tommy Samuelsson
Mats Waltin
Thomas Eriksson
Per Lundqvist
Mats Åhlberg
Håkan Eriksson
Mats Näslund
Lennart Norberg
Bengt Lundholm
Leif Holmgren
Bo Berglund
Dan Söderström
Lars Molin

Blue DivisionEdit

Top two teams (shaded ones) advanced to the medal round.

Team Pld W L T GF GA Pts
Flag of Sweden Sweden 54012679
Flag of the United States United States 540125109
Flag of the Czech Republic Czechoslovakia 532034166
Flag of Romania Romania 513113293
Flag of Germany West Germany 514021302
Flag of Norway Norway 50419361
  • February 12
    • Czechoslovakia 11-0 Norway
    • Romania 6-4 West Germany
    • Sweden 2-2 USA
  • February 14
    • Romania 0-8 Sweden
    • Norway 4-10 West Germany
    • USA 7-3 Czechoslovakia
  • February 16
    • USA 5-1 Norway
    • Romania 2-7 Czechoslovakia
    • Sweden 5-2 West Germany
  • February 18
    • Norway 1-7 Sweden
    • West Germany 3-11 Czechoslovakia
    • USA 7-2 Romania
  • February 20
    • Norway 3-3 Romania
    • Czechoslovakia 2-4 Sweden
    • West Germany 2-4 USA

Red DivisionEdit

Top two teams (shaded ones) advanced to the medal round.

Team Pld W L T GF GA Pts
Flag of the Soviet Union Soviet Union 5500511110
Flag of Finland Finland 532026186
Flag of Canada Canada 532028126
Flag of Poland Poland 523015234
Flag of the Netherlands Netherlands 513116433
Flag of Japan Japan 50417361
  • February 12:
    • Netherlands 1-10 Canada
    • Poland 5-4 Finland
    • Japan 0-16 USSR
  • February 14:
    • Netherlands 4-17 USSR
    • Poland 1-5 Canada
    • Japan 3-6 Finland
  • February 16
    • Japan 3-3 Netherlands
    • USSR 8-1 Poland
    • Canada 3-4 Finland
  • February 18
    • Canada 6-0 Japan
    • Netherlands 5-3 Poland
    • Finland 2-4 USSR
  • February 20
    • Poland 5-1 Japan
    • USSR 6-4 Canada
    • Finland 10-3 Netherlands

Medal RoundEdit

The top two teams from each group play the top two teams from the other group once. Points from previous games against their own group carry over, excluding teams who failed to make the medal round. First place team wins gold, second silver and third bronze.

Team Pld W L T GF GA Pts
Flag of the United States United States 32011075
Flag of the Soviet Union Soviet Union 32101684
Flag of Sweden Sweden 30127142
Flag of Finland Finland 30217111
  • February 22
    • USA 4-3 USSR
    • Finland 3-3 Sweden
  • February 24:
    • Sweden 2-9 USSR
    • USA 4-2 Finland

Carried over group matches:

  • February 12 Sweden 2-2 USA
  • February 18 Finland 2-4 USSR

5th place game

  • February 22 Czechoslovakia 6-1 Canada

Leading scorersEdit

Rk Team GP G A Pts
1 Flag of the Czech Republic Milan Novy 67815
2 Flag of the Czech Republic Peter Stastny 67714
3 Flag of the Czech Republic Jaroslav Pouzar 68513
4 Flag of the Soviet Union Aleksandr Golikov 77613
5 Flag of Finland Jukka Porvari 77411
6 Flag of the Soviet Union Boris Mikhailov 76511
6 Flag of the Soviet Union Vladimir Krutov 76511
8 Flag of the Soviet Union Sergei Makarov 75611
8 Flag of the Czech Republic Marian Stastny 65611
8 Flag of the United States Mark Johnson 75611

Hat TricksEdit


Ken Berry, Canada vs.Netherlands

Doru Tureanu, Romania vs.West Germany

Aleksandr Golikov, Soviet Union vs.Japan

Vladimir Krutov, Soviet Union vs.Netherlands

Yuri Lebedev, Soviet Union vs.Netherlands

Helmut Balderis, Soviet Union vs.Poland

Mats Aalberg, Sweden vs.Norway

Jack de Heer, Netherlands vs. Poland

Peter Stastny, Czechoslovakia vs.West Germany

Jaroslav Pouzar, Czechoslovakia vs.West Germany

Milan Novy, Czechoslovakia vs.West Germany

Final rankingEdit

  1. Flag of the United States United States
  2. Flag of the Soviet Union Soviet Union
  3. Flag of Sweden Sweden
  4. Flag of Finland Finland
  5. Flag of the Czech Republic Czechoslovakia
  6. Flag of Canada Canada
  7. Flag of Poland Poland
  8. Flag of the Netherlands Netherlands
  9. Flag of Romania Romania
  10. Flag of Germany West Germany
  11. Flag of Norway Norway
  12. Flag of Japan Japan


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