"Miracle on Ice" memories: U.S. and Russia to face off at Sochi Olympics

11:47 AM, Feb 15, 2014   |    comments
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(CBS News) One of the great Winter Olympics moments happened 34 years ago in Lake Placid, New York.  The United States hockey team upset the powerful Soviet Union en route to a gold medal.

The unlikely victory of a bunch of college kids against the vaunted professionals of the then Soviet Union has been forever dubbed "The Miracle on Ice," perhaps the most talked-about miracle since the bread and fishes. 

Russia and the U.S. face off again on Saturday in Sochi and Russia is looking for revenge on home ice.

On Thursday, when the U.S. routed the Slovakians, beating them 7-1, the "miracle" word came up again. Except it wouldn't be a miracle for this team of National Hockey League stars who were born, like Brooks Orpik, after the miracle happened.

"I was September of '80, so I was, I don't know, a half-a-year past the Olympics," Orpik told CBS News' Mark Philips.

None of the Russians playing in the Sochi Games were alive then either and not surprisingly, the Russians have a different collective memory of the 1980 event. 

Vladislav Tretiak, the head of Russian hockey now and the Soviet goaltender then, says they had not respected their opponents and weren't prepared.

That won't happen this time as 1980 inspired a generation.  The U.S. team, Blake Wheeler says, came within a goal of gold last time, and is one of four or five teams that could win in Sochi.

"I think the success this team had in Vancouver, I think might have reopened some eyes a little bit," said Wheeler.

Lately Canada has become the bigger rival, yet these Olympic Games seem to have renewed the old U.S. - Russian rivalry. 

At least Vladimir Putin thinks so. That's what he says is behind all the complaining about unready hotel rooms and hot weather. When the teams meet on Saturday, unlike Lake Placid, it'll be on Russian ice with old scores to settle and old miracles, perhaps, to relive.

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