Sunday, November 15, 2009

Thematic Photographic 75: "Travel" v.5.0 - Cold War Battlefield

"'Snow' in Lake Placid"
Lake Placid, NY - August 2005 (Click to embiggen)

Thematic Photographic hosted by Carmi - Button Image by Smarmoofus Hosted by Written Inc.

Snow. In August. Yeahright. Sorry, not even in Lake Placid is this happening. I suspect that this mound of "snow" fell not from the belly of a cloud, but the belly of a zamboni or two. Just a hunch, but the proximity of two Olympic sized ice rinks is a pretty strong clue. Both of those rinks have played host to Olympic hockey tournamets, in 1932 when the US team took home the silver and Germany won the first of its only two medals in the sport (the West German team also scored bronze in 1976). Canada took home the gold in that tournament, which included only four teams (Poland was the fourth).

But far more famous was the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" which saw an upstart Team USA take down the mighty Soviet Union which had collected seven gold medals in nine tries since their Olympic hockey 1956 debut. You didn't have to be a hockey fan to appreciate the enormity of that moment as the final seconds ticked off the clock and a bunch of college kids from Boston and Minnesota and opints in between who didn't realize what they couldn't do went on to the final game. The game between the US and Sweden to determine the gold was nearly lost in the uproar following this upset victory. But it was more than just a game or even a medal that came out of that rink in a small town upstate. It was a win at a time when the country desperately needed a win. Any kind of win. It's different now. The breakup of the Soviet Union and the IOC's allowance of NHL players have pretty well narrowed the field of teams that can be competitive to a handful. Besides the USA, Canada, Finland, Sweden and the Czech Republic, most other countries represented in the NHL were former Soviet satellites. And bound together under the umbrella of the USSR, they presented a formidable force. Individually however they boast relatively few professional players on their rosters, handicapping them significantly in a round robin competition like this. It's still entertaining to watch, mind you, but the dyas of "miracles" in Olympic hockey are probably gone for good.

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Robin said...

I'll never forget the Miracle on Ice. What a moment. They showed the movie about it here last year (some late night cable channel, I stumbled across it) and you know what? It was nearly as exciting the second time, even knowing how it all ends.

Carmi said...

The U.S. team winning the gold was one of my favorite all-time Olympic moments. And it remains so to this day.

I don't think miracles work the same way in the Information Age. Pity us, that.

Shadow said...

this is beautiful!

Patrick Culverton said...

me too. miracle on ice was a remarkable one. beautiful.

Mama Zen said...

One of the greatest sports moments ever!