"Miracle" opens in theaters this week, about the improbable victory of the U.S. Olympic hockey team over the Evil Empi. . ., I mean, the Soviet Union back in 1980. It was compared at the time to a high school team beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in football.
Now of course that would never happen. So how did this "Miracle" happen? Those of us who were students of Harold Rood at Claremont have an obvious explanation: The Soviets lost on purpose! Why? Remember, on the eve of the Lake Placid Olympics, Jimmy Carter was working hard to organize a boycott of the summer Olympics in Moscow because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. There was strong opposition (from Ronald Reagan on the campaign trail among others). The Soviets were in a panic about the proposed boycott, especially if other nations followed the U.S. (which several did). An American hockey victory in Lake Placid would cause Americans to have second thoughts about passing up the chance to smack the Ruskies around in Moscow, and support for Carters boycott might collapse. So perhaps the KGB sends out word: Lose to these guys. It may save the summer Olympics.
If this sounds far-fetched, consider a similar case: In 1984 I went sailing in Australia with an Australian who did a lot of yacht racing, and he made out the case that Dennis Conner had deliberately lost the Americas Cup race to the Australians in 1983--the first time the Cup had been lost in 125 years. The theory was that the cup would always stay in the New York Yacht Club as long as the American "defender" won, but Dennis Conner was from San Diego, and the only way to get the Cup to San Diego was the lose it first.
Well, two years later, Dennis Conner won the Cup back in the waters off Perth, and the Cup went to . . . San Diego. Worth thinking about.
But go see the movie anyway.