The U.S. hockeyteam wasn't given a snowball's chance in—well, Lake Placid—but that was beforethe Americans tied Sweden 2-2 in the last seconds and then scored apreposterous 7-3 victory over Czechoslovakia. After three more wins, the teamtoo young to know any better advanced to the medal round to face the fearsomeSoviet Union. But with Goalie Jim Craig stopping shot after shot and the crowdchanting "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" the Americans did the impossible, rallyingthree times to win 4-3. The gold medal came 48 hours later with a 4-2 win overFinland, but the Soviet game was like a frozen dream. "I still can'tbelieve it," said top scorer Mark Johnson. Neither could the people dancingin the streets.
The U.S. hockeyteam did a number on the U.S.S.R. and at the medal ceremony.
Captain MikeEruzione gave a banner performance.
Mark Johnson'sgoal at the end of the first period tied the score at 2-2 and sent SovietGoalie Vladislav Tretiak into exile.
Outside theOlympic arena, fans screamed till they were red, white and blue in theface.
Steve Christoffand Johnson finished off the Finns with this final goal.
These unidentifiedflying objects at Mount Van Hoevenberg were actually a close encounter of thetwo-man luge kind.
Odd S‚Äö√†√∂‚Äö√†√árli ofNorway left a wake of snow as he attacked the mountain in the giant slalom.
AnnemarieMoser-Pr‚Äö√†√∂‚Äö√†√áll got a Whiteface facial.
Denise Biellmannof Switzerland had a leg up on the short program with a move named afterher.
Speed skater RiaVisser of Holland took a Dad tumble in the 3,000 meters, Out a silver medal inthe 1,500 was some consolation.
This Colonialfife-and-drum corps from the 3rd U.S. Infantry helped ring in the Lake PlacidGames.
Eric Heiden'ssmile told the world that he had struck a mother lode.
THE U.S. WAS TWICEAS NICE ON ICE
Once upon a timein Madison, Wis., there were two boys who played hockey on the same line of aPeewee League team. One, the center, was named Mark Johnson, and he grew up tolead the U.S. team to a fairy-tale finish in the 1980 Winter Olympics. Theother, the right wing, eventually gave up hockey and took up speed skating. Hisname was Eric Heiden. He also did the unbelievable at Lake Placid, winning arecord five gold medals at distances ranging from 500 to 10,000 meters. Thenight before his last and longest race, Heiden exercised his lungs cheering hisold linemate to victory against the Soviets, and he left the arena, U.S. SpeedSkating Coach Dianne Holum said, "thinking he could conquer the world."Which is what he did the next day, lopping 6.20 seconds off the world record of14:34.33.
Other stories hadnot-so-happy endings. Americans Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner had to pull outof the pairs figure skating competition at the last minute because of aseverely pulled groin muscle incurred by Gardner in practice. That left thegold to Irina Rodnina and Aleksandr Zaitsev of the Soviet Union and the tearsto Babilonia. The best hope of the U.S. in women's figure skating, LindaFratianne, was in second place entering the freestyle finals, and she put on adazzling performance that rated 5.8s and 5.9s, but it wasn't enough to catchleader Anett P‚Äö√†√∂‚Äö√†√átzsch of East Germany.
The hills wouldhave been alive with the sounds of Liechtenstein's national anthem, had therebeen one. The tiny country, which had to borrow Great Britain's Cod Save theQueen for the awards ceremonies, won four medals in Alpine skiing, all by theWenzel family. Hanni won the women's giant slalom and slalom and finishedsecond in the downhill to Austria's Annemarie Moser-Pr‚Äö√†√∂‚Äö√†√áll, who finally got agold medal to go along with her six World Cups. Ingemar Stenmark of Sweden alsowon his long-overdue gold by edging Andreas Wenzel in the giant slalom. ThenStenmark overtook Phil Mahre of the U.S. on the second run to win the slalom.Mahre's silver was especially sterling because he was coming off a broken anklesustained on Whiteface 11 months before.