whose broad stripes and bright stars

“One of the most startling and dramatic upsets in Olympic history,” Gerald Eskenazi called it in The New York Times when the U.S. beat the mighty Soviet Union on this day in 1980 in Lake Placid, New York — but you knew that already. The score was 4-3 by the end of that fateful semi-final — see below to relive all the drama of the last few minutes, after Mark Pavelich intercepted a Soviet pass. Beating the Soviets earned the Americans the right to play Finland in the Olympic final two days later, where they prevailed once more, 4-2, and duly collected their golds.

One of the memorable images from the aftermath of the Soviet game was of U.S. goaltender, Jim Craig, touring the ice of the Olympic Field House with a flag caped about his shoulders. That’s it in the thread here above, as it appeared in 2015 when the former Boston University goalkeep decided to sell items from his 1980s treasury via the New Jersey auction house Lelands.

Measuring 5’ by 9.5’, these “forensically photo-matched and authenticated” stars and stripes went on the block attached to an appraised value of between US$1,000,000 and US$1,500,000. With the on-line auction inviting opening bids on the latter … none was forthcoming. At a second auction in 2016, when the bidding started at US$100,000, the flag attracted seven bids without selling — the final offer of US$611,591 failed to meet the reserve on a lot that Lelands called “the sports version of the Declaration of Independence, the “Rosebud” sled, or the suit Neil Armstrong wore to walk on the Moon.” (Take your pick, I guess.)

Craig’s 1980 gold medal also failed to sell, as did the sweater he wore against the Soviets. That 2016 sale did move 13 other lots from the goaltender’s Olympic collection, raising a total of close to US$292,000. Craig’s mask went for US$137,849, and his blocker for US$23,033. You could have had his skates for US$17,569, though you probably didn’t; his goalie pants went for a mere US$1,320.

Last Minutes of Play: Iillustrator Ben Dunn’s version of the events of this day in 1980, as seen in his and Joe Dunn’s 2007 graphic history, Miracle On Ice.

 

act of god, assist to eruzione

miracleIt was 33 years today that the United States miracled on ice at the 1980 Olympics, surprising the mighty Soviet Union with a 4-3 in the semi-final. I don’t know if it was the greatest sporting event of the 20th century, as it’s sometimes called — but then I’m Canadian, so of course I’d say that. It was a famous victory that the fact that I have no idea where I was when it happened should in no way be allowed to tarnish the significance of the event, which put the U.S. into the gold-medal game, where they beat the Finns, 4-2. I never liked the branding, I will say, all that “Miracle On Ice” fuss. If you’re going to give the Lord the credit, doesn’t that kind take away from the effort put in by Jim Craig, captain Mike Eruzione, and the rest of those college boys all those many winters ago?

Eruzione was the one who scored the winning goal against the Soviets. If you’re a big fan of his with a big wallet, then tomorrow’s your day. That’s when Heritage Auctions of Dallas is auctioning the sweater off his Lake Placid back, number 21, in New York City. Continue reading