Last Friday was the anniversary of the Miracle on Ice, the U.S.'s
semifinal win over a terrifying Russian side at the 1980 Olympics. It was noted, as it is every year, since it's the greatest moment in American hockey history, and marketable too—Mike Eruzione took the auspicious day to auction off all his Olympic gear.
But today's an anniversary too: 53 years ago, the U.S. won their first hockey gold, at the 1960 Olympics in Squaw Valley, Calif. It wasn't nearly as climactic—the Russians weren't yet the unbeatable machine they would become, the medal round was a round-robin, and perhaps most importantly to history, the games weren't televised. But it was just as unlikely. The Americans went undefeated, mowing through Sweden, Canada, the USSR, and finally Czechoslovakia, the four strongest teams in the world.
The final game, against the Czechs on Feb. 28, isn't much remembered. The final score was 9-4, and the crucial game had come earlier, one-goal wins over eventual silver and bronze winners Canada and the USSR. But the U.S. was down 4-3 heading into the third period against Czechoslovakia, and needed at least a tie to guarantee gold.
To celebrate the occasion, Northland Films has released the above video, adapted from the 2010 documentary Forgotten Miracle. It features rare footage of the Czechoslovakia game, and a gold medal celebration that Americans would experience only once since.