just like a waving flag

Colour Guard: The XXIV Olympic Winter Games get underway today in Beijing with the parading of enbubbled, bemasked athletes, the lighting of flames, the flying of flags. Bearing Canadian colours alongside speedskater Charles Hamelin is 30-year-old hockey captain and superstar Marie-Philip Poulin. The subject of the 2018 biography pictured here, she scored gold-winning goals in the first two Olympics she played in, of course, in 2010 and 2014, and she captained Canada to a silver showing at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics in South Korea. Canada’ 2022 campaign has already hit the ice: Poulin contributed an assist yesterday as she and her teammates opened the tournament with a 12-1 whomping of Switzerland.

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: Illustrator 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.