Twenty-five years. Was it really that long ago? Not to Mike Eruzione.
He closes his eyes and feels the sensation of his game-winning goal. He hears the roar inside that jam-packed arena in Lake Placid, N.Y. He sees a countdown - always interminably slow - of the last 10 minutes. He summons the final emotional rush.
Do you believe in miracles? Eruzione does. Every single day.
``I'm still living it,'' said Eruzione, captain of the 1980 U.S. Olympic gold medal-winning hockey team. ``Our story keeps going. For me, it comes up every single day.''
Every single day.
Twenty-five years ago, American hostages were being held in Iran. The Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan. The nation needed to feel good about something, amid a worldwide climate ofuncertainty and fear.
Then came a golden afternoon.
Today is the silver anniversary.
The moment still resonates. When the U.S. stunned the supposedly unbeatable Soviet Union 4-3, setting the stage for a gold-medal victory two days later, American citizens were united in cheers and tears. A Communist juggernaut had been toppled.
Sports Illustrated, for the only time in the magazine's history, used no headlines or word captions on its cover. It simply presented a photograph of the on-ice celebration. The U.S. team hassince been immortalized through books, a documentary and a feature film (``Miracle'') that was released last winter.
The U.S. hockey team pounces on goalie Jim Craig after beating the Soviet Union 4-3 in the Olympic hockey semifinals in 1980.
Eruzione, who makes approximately 100 motivational speeches to corporations each year, is touched by the tales he hears about fathers and sons, about the shared moment.
``They say it was one of their cherished times spent together as a family,'' Eruzione said. ``I've had guys say to me, `I watched that with my dad. I was 15 years old. My dad sat in the chair. He was crying and crying. I couldn't figure out what it was all about then, but now I realize it.' ''
So what was it all about?
``To so many people,'' said Jim Craig, the goalie whose enduring image is being wrapped in an American flag as he searched the stands for his father, ``it was about so much more than a hockeygame. And that's why it continues to captivate everyone.''
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