The Soviet Union hockey team was unbeatable and had won gold medals in five of the last six Winter Olympics, which put them in the position of having the best chance to win against the US at Lake Placid. The team consisted of professional players who had extensive experience in international hockey. The American team, headed by coach Herb Brooks, had many amateur players compared to their Soviet counterparts. With only four players with little league experience, the US team was the youngest one in the tournament and the most inexperienced. In the group category, the American team achieved several amazing results, including a 2-2 draw against Sweden, and a massive 7-3 victory over Czechoslovakia.
In the first match of the medal round, the United States faced the Russians. The first half was tied at 2-2, with the Soviets leading 3-2 in the second half. The US team scored two additional goals, took their first lead in the final half, and won the game by 4-3. After two days, the Americans won the gold by defeating Finland in the last game. The Soviet Union on the other hand won the silver by defeating Sweden.
This victory was one of the most outstanding sporting events in the US. Later in the year 1999, Sports Illustrated named the “Miracle on Ice” as the top sports event of the 20th century. As part of its centenary celebrations in 2008, the IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) named “Miracle on Ice” as the “world’s leading hockey story a century ago”.