The Soviet Union national ice hockey team was perhaps the most dominant sports team in the world.
The USSR had won every hockey gold medal since 1960, hadn't lost a match in international play in eight years, defeated the NHL All-Stars 6-0 in 1979, and had both the world's best player at the time (Boris Mikalov) and perhaps the greatest goaltender in hockey history.
While the Soviets were an unofficial professional team made up of high-ranking military officers who had no military duties other than playing hockey, the U.S team was made up of college kids.
Coach Herb Brooks was a hockey-mad genius who made up his team primarily from members of two hated rivals Boston University and the University of Minnesota.
While the city kids and country boys didn't get along, they were bonded by one thing—a common hatred of Herb Brooks.
Two weeks before the Olympics, the Soviets played the U.S team in a charity exhibition game at Madison Square Garden. The result? USSR 10, USA 3.
As Olympic play began the U.S put up some surprising results finishing group play 4-0-1 with an impressive 7-3 win over silver-medal favorite Czechoslovakia.
If the US was impressive, the Soviets were downright awesome. CCCP 16, Japan 0; CCCP 17, Holland 3; CCCP 8, Poland 1—and the Soviets also scored 10 goals against powerhouses Finland and Canada.
The first game of the medal round would feature the U.S against the Soviets at the height of the Cold War.
It was clear from the outset that the Soviets might not be taking the Americans seriously. They took an early lead, yet were unable to put the U.S away.
The perfect example of the USSR's lackadasical play was the last goal of the first period, when Mark Johnson scored off a rebound at the horn as the entire Soviet defense quit on the play.
Going into the third period the Soviets held a 3-2 lead, but Johnson's second goal tied the game, and a slapshot from the American's inspirational leader Mike Eruzionne gave the American's a 4-3 lead with ten minutes remaining.
In the final ten minutes, U.S goalie Jim Craig played about as well as any keeper in hockey history, time and time again turning back the Soviets and securing a U.S victory.
Two nights later the Americans would beat Finland to secure the gold medal.
"Do you believe in miracles?"