Free «Inspirational Teams» UK Essay Paper
A real sensation occurred in a hockey tournament in 1980 during winter Olympic Games in the USA. The story of the 1980 USA Olympic Hockey team is one of the most incredible and breathtaking in the history of American sport. The young team with average age of its players of 21 years old managed to win the game and beat the USSR team considered the strongest hockey team on the planet of that time. This victory and success had the greatest influence on the American nation. The citizens of the country feel pride and honor for their country, and consider the victory of 1980 as one the most important events in the history of the USA. The USA hockey team managed to build a strong unity under the control of the great coach Herbert “Herb” Brooks. Despite the tension and disbelief in the victory on the part of most citizens of America and the world, American hockey team managed to make a real “miracle on ice” and make their country believe in their power.
USSR national team arrived in Lake Placid as an absolute favorite. They had managed to win four previous Olympics and recent two world championships in 1978 and 1979. The team created by Soviet coach Viktor Tikhonov were brilliant masters, and there could not be a doubt in their success (Burgan 11). The Americans decided to form an Olympic hockey team based on student team players. The youth faced maturity on the ice. The talent faced multiyear experience. The team united thanks to only one thing – the strongest desire to win. The clash between the two most powerful countries in the world had to take place not in the seas and deserts, not in laboratories on nuclear power development or the arms race, but on the ice arena of the Olympic Lake Placid. On that day, the history showed once again that the invincible might fall. Thus, any opponent should not underestimate any Olympic team.
American hockey specialists mention that on that day, 22nd of February, the American hockey came to a new level. Nobody perceived the USA hockey team as a contender for Olympic medals in Lake Placid. Since 1963, the US team managed to take the 4th place at the World Hockey Championship once. The team occupied only the 6th, 7th or 8th place, giving in the national teams of Finland and Germany (Gilbert 48). The American hockey team won a victory in the final of the US Olympic Winter Games of 1960, the silver medal in Winter Olympic Games of 1972 and had relatively strong student hockey national championship. However, this team managed to to beat the strongest team of the world and repeat their success of 1960 Olympic Games gaining the gold medals.
Mike Eruzione and Mark Johnson constantly highlight the “Miracle on Ice” – the victory of the US team over the USSR team at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid (Burgan 2). They say that this event became a defining moment in the American hockey history. Executive Director of the USA Hockey Federation Dave Ogrean notes several points in the development of the American hockey after the victory in Lake Placid. “I think that we can say that American hockey is now stronger than ever,” says Ogrean, who was the US team press officer in 1980 (Burgan 14). He further adds, “We all have one goal – we want as many people start playing hockey, so that more people can watch this game and enjoy the greatest number of fans.” (Burgan 54) For Americans, this victory was a real miracle. Having beaten also the Finns in the final match, the US team has become an Olympic champion in the USA. For the US citizens this event fell on a par with John F. Kennedy’s death and the landing of Neil Armstrong on the moon. “Do You Believe in Miracles?” is a documentary film dedicated to this greatest event in the sport history of the USA (Gilbert 20). It was presented in 1981. The film shows the relationship of the coach and the team, the emotions that players experienced and the atmosphere of the time.
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The idea started from a dream. The American hockey association dreamed to have a good team. Head coach Herb Brooks during six months built a team capable of playing a mixture of Canadian and European powerful hockey with the strong spirit. Being an excellent psychologist, Brooks was able to set up the young players into a real battle on ice (Pierce 28). He used various techniques to achieve this, including pressure applying on their weak points. The main thing that he was able to do is to unite and train a team that showed a mixture of Canadian and European style energetic combination, although it was very difficult. Therefore, the technical training under control of coach Brooks continued during five months.
During this time, the young players were falling of exhaustion. Besides severe muscles workout and constant games, a powerful psychological pressure accompanied the training process. As a psychologist, Herb Brooks had set the task to create a team not of the strongest players, but those who could embody the idea of the coach. Herb Brooks made an emphasis on teamwork links and excellent physical training. He drew attention to the fact that at the end of matches, most teams could no longer ride with the same activity as in the beginning. During five months before the Olympics, the US team had played 62 games in the US, Canada, and Europe (Pierce 25). Physical activity was at the limit of the possible, and the coach sometimes used it as a specific punishment for a mediocre team game. It became a widely known approach to training, which took place after a draw with Norway’s Olympic team. Herb Brooks ordered hockey players to run sprints after the game. Exercise continued even after turning off the light in the training hall.
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