As the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo closes, we remember that there are some memorable moments in Olympic history with ties to New England – the most famous of which for many is undoubtedly the U.S. Hockey team’s “Miracle on Ice” win against the Soviet Union during the 1980 Olympics. 

The team was led by Massachusetts native Mike Eruzione, who looked back on the historic win during a visit to Springfield last year. 


Read the Full Transcript:

Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: As the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo draws to a close this week, we remember that there are some memorable moments in Olympic history with ties to New England, the most famous of which for many is undoubtedly the U.S. Hockey Team’s Miracle on Ice win against the Soviet Union during the 1980 Olympics.

The team was led by Massachusetts native Mike Eruzione, who looked back on the historic win during a visit to Springfield last year.

Carolee McGrath, Connecting Point: Mike Eruzione was the captain of the 1980 gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic Hockey Team.

Hockey Fan: You gave us a lot of good memories, buddy, over the years.

 Mike Eruzione: Thank you.

Carolee McGrath: Eruzione grew up in Winthrop and played at Boston University. He was one of 20 players selected for the U.S. Olympic team, which was never expected to win.

Hockey Fan: Awesome, thanks so much.

 Mike Eruzione: You’re welcome. Thank you.

 Hockey Fan: Really cool to meet you.

Carolee McGrath: When they made it to the medal round in Lake Placid, they faced the Soviet Union, a team of all professional players. Team USA was made up of mostly college kids.

Mike Eruzione, 1980 US Olympic Team Captain: I didn’t hear a word. You didn’t hear anything but Herb yelling to the players, you know, “Play your game, chip it, and get it out. Get it out!”

Carolee McGrath: Each fan he met recounted that game that — with the world watching — US beat the Soviets in the semifinals in arguably one of the greatest upsets in sports history.

Mike Eruzione: Seventeen of us dressed that night. The other guys — nine guys were in the stands.

Carolee McGrath: Eruzione scored the winning goal.

Mike Eruzione: You know, I just felt, you know, ten minutes left. I had an opportunity to score… and it worked out and we had the lead. And that was the first thing that came to my mind.

Carolee McGrath: The U.S. went on to beat Finland for the gold. The win for America in 1980 wasn’t just about hockey. America was in the midst of the Cold War. There was the Iranian Hostage Crisis, inflation, and uncertainty.

Mike Eruzione: It was a victory for a lot of different reasons. For some people, it was an athletic achievement. It was a hockey game.

For some people, it was a political statement to show the world that we still are a great country and we still can do great things.

And as a country, we were looking for something to feel good about — and we found out this a little later on. We needed a shot in the arm, so to speak.

Carolee McGrath: Forty years after the Miracle on Ice, the story of the underdogs overcoming still inspires people of all ages.

Georgianna Tippo, Hockey Fan: The fact I think that most people think they won the gold medal when they beat the Russians tells you how important politically that game was.

Nobody remembers they had to go on to beat Finland. They only remember they beat the Russians.

Carolee McGrath: Georgiana Chipo and her daughter Julie Cotner watched the game together all those years ago.

Mike Eruzione: Where was that taken?

 Julie Cotnoir, Hockey Fan: Uh, National Jaycees Convention.

 Mike Eruzione: OK.

Carolee McGrath: Julie brought a picture for Eruzione to sign of her posing with him after the Olympics.

Julie Cotnoir, Hockey Fan: I have a photo of Mike Eruzione and myself and it was taken in June of 1980 and they had won the Olympics that year and it was at the National Jaycees Convention, so we got to meet him.

Carolee McGrath: Ten-year-old James Lynch plays hockey and has watched the movie “Miracle” about the 1980 Olympic team.

James Lynch, Hockey Player & Fan: A lot of them were from college and they were on opposite teams and then in the end, they were all friends.

Kate Mylod, James’ Mom: The story never gets old, and is somebody who is in and out of sports as an adult but loves hockey, the fact that it’s like the greatest upset in U.S. sports history, again, just never gets old.

And I think it’s just a great lesson for these kids to see this team come together, see their fearless leader, see the leadership that emerged on the team, and to remember this real critical time in our nation’s history and what this success meant.

Carolee McGrath: Eruzione says he never thought Hockey would take off the way it has in the U.S., with it talent and the broad reach of the sport in places like Florida, Arizona, and Texas.

Mike Eruzione: We might have opened the doors for today’s players, but today’s players have knocked the doors down.

You know, we’re one of the strongest countries in the world when it comes to ice hockey, not only our men, obviously our women.

Carolee McGrath: He also offered this advice to young hockey players and fans.

Mike Eruzione: Have fun, you know, have fun, work hard. If you have a passion for something, work hard to achieve that — not only in sports and just in life in general.

So, you know, when I talk to young kids, I tell them I don’t care if you’re a great hockey player. I want to make sure you’re a good kid, you’re a good teammate, you’re a good brother. You’re a good sister. You’re a good neighbor. You respect people, you work hard.

You kinda have those qualities, usually good things are going to happen to you.