Can it really be that long since ‘Miracle on Ice’ when the United States Olympic hockey team – a group of amateur and college athletes – beat those big bad nasty Russians who were 27-1-1 in the previous four Olympic tournaments?
Mike Eruzione. Jim Craig. Herb Brooks. Those legendary names are synonymous with the pursuit and achievement of excellence for those of us old enough to remember the original tape-delayed broadcast. A then unknown Al Michaels counted down the seconds and said, “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” (The hair on the back of my neck still rises whenever I see or hear that dramatic highlight.)
Things have changed a lot since then… most notably the greatest athletes are professionals – including those who participated in yesterday’s U.S. upset of the highly favored Canadian hockey team. The Olympic credo “Citius, Altius, Fortius” (Swifter, Higher, Stronger) needs to add “Profitus” as a fourth value.
As a capitalist nation, there’s nothing wrong with that transformation. Heck, when USA basketball fell to Bronze medal status in 1988, our solution was to assemble the Dream Team to win back Gold. Take that world. It’s all about the Benjamins… which means we’ll never again see a bunch of 20-something amateurs endure a grueling seven-month training regimen like the one Brooks put his team through and create an ending only Hollywood could produce.
So we’ll just have to enjoy the memories of three decades ago and celebrate today where we watched USA 4, Russia 3.