Rediscover: The Boys of Winter

The U.S. Olympic hockey team is going for gold in Pyeongchang. Thirty-eight years ago, a very different type of team, mostly blue-collar amateurs, took on the juggernaut Soviet squad in Lake Placid, N.Y. They faced off in the first game of the medal round, both undefeated, with the U.S. team having already upset second-place favorite Czechoslovakia in the group stage. The first period ended in a 2-2 tie. The Soviets went ahead by one in the second. The Americans tied 3-3 in the third, then with 10 minutes left to play, team captain Mike Eruzione put the U.S. ahead 4-3. With 10 seconds left and an exuberant crowd counting down to the end of the game--and a U.S. victory--ABC announcer Al Michaels delivered one of the most famous lines in sportscasting: "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!"

Thus the Miracle on Ice became the stuff of sports legends. The U.S. team took the gold with a win over Finland while the Soviets beat Sweden for the silver. Cold War politics turned the hockey game into a political coup. A made-for-TV movie called Miracle on Ice aired in 1981, and a Disney film starring Kurt Russell as head coach Herb Brooks came out in 2004. The Boys of Winter: The Untold Story of a Coach, a Dream, and the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team by Wayne Coffey (Crown, $15, 9781400047666) gives an in-depth account of the Miracle on Ice and the later careers of all involved. It was published in paperback in 2005. --Tobias Mutter