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Opinion

Columnist relates 1980’s ‘miracle’ to current team USA

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February 24, 2010

This past week of Olympic competition has been nothing short of exciting.

Thus far, the United States has turned in a dominating performance leading the medal count for several days running, and has brought intense moments that have captivated the American spirit. The world watched in awe as the U.S. hockey team stunned the host-nation and highly favored team from Canada, where hockey is not a sport but a way of life, scoring 22 seconds into the game.

American goaltender Ryan Miller turned in an outstanding performance, turning away 42 of the powerful Canadian shots. Time will only tell if the Americans can complete the underdog story and come away with an Olympic medal after being shut out in Torino in 2006.

It comes as no surprise to many that this current team has many of the same features and expectations as the 1960 hockey team that won the first U.S. gold. This was also the first time the Americans beat Canada in the Olympics, and others look to the 1980 miracle on ice team that defeated the heavily favored Soviet Union.

Other moments that have taken our breath away include the awe-inspiring ice skating performance of American Evan Lysacek who skated his heart out and left everything on the ice to capture the gold.

The Russians have complained that his program wasn’t as high of degree of difficulty Yergony Plushenko’s, but the Olympic judges concluded that Lysacek was more technical and had a higher degree of completion. Olympic history was made after speed skater Apolo Ohno captured a silver medal in the 1000m. This gave Ohno seven medals over the course of his career thus far, making him the most decorated athlete in U.S. winter Olympic history.

The previous record of six was held by Bonnie Blair. But Ohno is not done yet (and depending on when you read this, he may well be on his way to eight or even nine medals) as he has two events left to skate. One field, where the Americans are completely dominating is in the many realms of skiing. 

The U.S. holds eight medals in the alpine skiing events and has taken a steady command in similar events such as moguls and the super-g.

After much hype about her bruised shin, Minnesota native Lindsey Vonn took home the gold in alpine skiing and a bronze in the super-g and still has two more events to compete in. Julia Marcuso, under the shadow of Vonn’s media hype, has also turned in impressive performances, taking two silvers.

On the men’s side, Bode Miller just keeps getting better as he has a bronze, silver, and a gold medal thus far. And who could forget Shaun White’s amazing run during snowboarding?

So whether you’re a hockey fan or just interested in the variety of competition, these Vancouver Olympics have fulfilled the American experience and have been absolutely stunning. Time will only tell if more miracles are in the making.

Ashley Goettl is an alumna of UW-River Falls. She was editor of the Student Voice from fall semester 2011 to spring semester 2013.