Sports Community and Politicians Pay Homage to the 1980 'Miracle on Ice' U.S. Hockey Team

Saturday marked the 40th anniversary of the famous "Miracle on Ice," in which the United States men's national hockey team defeated the Soviet Union team at the 1980 Olympic Winter Games.

The U.S. team's victory in Lake Placid, New York over the heavily favored Soviet Union was also important for Americans' morale during the Cold War, as the Iran hostage crisis continued. The U.S.S.R.'s hockey team took home the gold in the four previous Olympic Games leading up to the 1980 face-off and were undefeated against the U.S. between 1960 and 1980.

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ESPN analyzed the game using modern metrics, showing exactly how unlikely the U.S.'s victory was in the hallowed game. The U.S.S.R. took over double the amount of shots as the U.S. team, and the U.S.S.R. maintained a 46-21 shot attempt advantage. ESPN also determined that 71 percent of shots on goal in the game came from the Soviet Union and 81.6 percent at 5-on-5.

Despite having the odds stacked against them, the U.S. team defeated the Soviet team in a 4-3 victory, and then later beat Finland to take the gold medal. The game was immortalized with commentator Al Michaels' "Do you believe in miracles?" exclamation as the final buzzer rang.

miracle on ice
Team USA celebrates their 4-3 victory over the Soviet Union in the semi-final Men's Ice Hockey event at the Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York on February 22, 1980. Steve Powell/Getty

Fans paid tribute to the team for the milestone on social media. Many sports journalists shared clips and photos from the iconic game, including ESPN's Ben Creighton and WDRB sports director Aaron Matas. Football analyst Michael Detillier shared the cover of Sports Illustrated from after the U.S. victory.

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Minnesota Twins TV announcer Dick Bremer called his late arrival on the Minnesota sports scene a year after the game the biggest regret of his career. "Would give anything to have been there," he tweeted.

ESPN and the NHL also both celebrated the game's anniversary with the former sharing a clip of Kurt Russell's portrayal of the late U.S. team coach Herb Brooks in the 2004 biopic Miracle on Ice--and the latter sharing a montage from the iconic game.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer also tweeted about the game, calling Lake Placid a "jewel" and "magical year round."

New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik commented about the history-making game, which took place in the district she represents: "Today we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the most iconic game in history that took place in Lake Placid, NY!"

With the many commemorations on Twitter, perhaps the most high-profile celebration came from President Donald Trump. Members of the 1980 team--team captain and left wing Mike Eruzione; goaltender Jim Craig; right wing Dave Christian; defensemen Bill Baker, Ken Morrow, Jack O'Callahan and Mike Ramsey; center Mark Wells; and assistant coach Craig Patrick--attended Trump's Vegas rally Friday night. Brooks' daughter also attended the event.

Trump invited the team members onstage and asked Eruzione and Brooks' daughter to speak about the coach.

"He was very difficult to play for, but trust me on one thing, there never once was a day that we didn't respect the man. There never once was a day that we didn't trust him and what he was trying to do," Eruzione said. "He orchestrated the greatest sports moment of the 20th century, and the guys behind me, we're so proud and honored to have been a part of him and what he was able to put together."

Updated 4:45 PM ET

Sports Community and Politicians Pay Homage to the 1980 'Miracle on Ice' U.S. Hockey Team | Sports