"Do you believe in miracles?" Al Michaels asked in an excited voice heard around the world in 1980 at Lake Placid, N.Y., when the American amateur hockey team stunned the No. l professional team in the world the Soviet Union for the gold medal in those Olympics.
Michaels paused and then said in an even louder voice, "Yes!"
For those who were at those Olympics and even those countless millions watching around the world, that was the biggest moment in the history of the Games from an American perspective. That collection of college boys had no chance of defeating the hardened veterans of the Russian team which was the best in the world. Perhaps making the Russians overconfident was the fact they had obliterated the U.S. team 10-3 in an exhibition game only days before the Olympic games began at Lake Placid.
Fast forward to today, Feb. 9, 2014 and somebody had the truly brilliant idea of having Al Michaels interview the current coach of the Russian hockey team who was a member of the Soviet team that suffered the most shocking loss for Russia since the Bolsheviks ousted the Czar from power.
Somehow, it did not seem to make sense that this guy would be allowed to coach this Russian team after being a part of the most embarassing loss in Russian hockey history in the Olympics. Evidently, the Russians don't send people to the gulags in Siberia anymore for embarassing the government.
And with Vladimir Putin, former head of the KGB under the Communists, running the country now, one wonders how this Russian coach is even still in hockey. But it seems Putin may have been distracted by other issues such as not finishing hotel rooms in time, not being able to provide drinkable water which did not turn brown and not building private restrooms.
Lenin must be turning over in his grave......er Tomb, I guess they call it.
Michaels interviewed the Russian coach, who does not speak English. Al first asked, "What was it like to go back to Russia after losing?"
The Russian coach uttered something in Russian which only a few members of his audience probably understood.
HIs interpreter said words to the effect that it was not a pleasant reaction that losing Red team received upon returning to the Motherland.
Michaels followed up and inquired as to how important it was for the Russian hockey team to bring home the gold this time. The interpreter replied, "If the hockey team loses, nothing else matters in this Olmpics. If the hockey team wins, nothing else matters in this Olympics."
Sounds like all the other Russian athletes don't need to bother showing up if they're not on the hockey team.
Many things have changed since that colossal 1980 upset by the U.S. hockey team. The Berlin Wall was torn down in 1989. The Soviet Union of Socialist Republics fragmented into Russia and a bunch of other countries who hate the Kremlin. Supposedly Russia is not longer ruled by the Communists, but Putin is in power, and he is the former head of the Communist KGB which reportedly murdered people whose views they didn't like.
So as much as one would like to think things have changed in Russia, one is reminded of the saying, "The more things change, the more they stay the same."
Putin spent $50 billion on these Olympics which makes one think maybe the federal government in the U.S. isn't alone in its lavish spending habits. Canada spent a measely $7 billion on their Olympics four years ago. Of course Putin has saved a lot of money by not buying shirts. Many people have witnessed his photo ops of him riding a horse shirtless and appearing with a leopard shirtless.
Maybe he has become a kinder, gentler ex-KGB officer. In any event he can still salvage something from these Olympics if he can just get someone to figure out to get the fifth Olympic ring to light.
He could possibly still outdo all prior Olympics event by producing Edward Snowden. Maybe during the closing ceremonies Snowden and he could embrace. Now that would get ratings for NBC!
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