Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

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"Miracle" Remembered 30 Years Later

Message to Team USA: "Teams win championships, players don't"

By Peggy Kusinski
|  Monday, Feb 22, 2010  |  Updated 5:49 PM EDT
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"Miracle on Ice" Coach Applauds U.S. Win

Jack O'Callahan, who played with the Americans in their 1980 win against the Soviet Union, talks about his favorite memory from the historic win.
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Jack O'Callahan remembers the backdrop of the most important hockey game of his life.

"We were aware that times were tough -- the economy, the gas lines, the cold war,"  said O'Callahan, a member of the famed 1980 U.S. hockey team.  ""We were kids. But we were aware we were playing the big bad Russians."

Sunday night, 30 years after he helped lead Team USA past Russia and to a gold medal, O'Callahan watched Team USA beat Canada, 5-3 -- perhaps USA hockey's second-biggest upset ever. He recognizes that the stakes weren't as high as they were 30 years ago, but he said he still swelled with national pride.

"It was magnificent," O'Callahan said Monday at Glencoa Ice Center, where he watched his children play hockey. "My wife and I were watching together, yelling and screaming. It was a great thing."

Earlier this year, O'Callahan and Miracle on Ice teammate Mike Eruzione gave Team USA a pep talk.

"We just told them kids that teams win championships, players don't," he said. "We won as a team."

O'Callahan's biggest moment in the Miracle on Ice came early in the game against the Russians, when he delivered a crushing hit on a Soviet player to force a turnover, leading to the first U.S. goal. The play tied the game at 1 and sent the message to the Soviets that the young U.S. team would not be intimidated. The U.S. won, 4-3, in what is often considered the greatest sports upset over.

Now, O'Callahan's hoping Team USA can take the lessons of their predecessors from 30 years ago to heart, and win another gold medal.

""These guys grew up the top American hockey players most of their lives," he said. "They understand the importance when you put the USA jersey on.  They understand everyone in the country is watching."

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