Zap2it: From Sunday, April 14 through Tuesday, April 16, National Geographic Channel is surveying the ’80s. At the beginning of 1980, the amateur United States Olympic hockey team beat the mighty Soviet Union and went on to take out Finland to win the gold medal. You were goalie for both games — what did it mean for a bunch of young nonprofessionals to knock out the best in the world?
Jim Craig: It was a dream. The Olympics were always about amateur athletes and the dream to become an Olympian. It was never about a professional athlete going and representing their country. We were these kids who took the time out, not making any money, and put whatever careers they really wanted to do on hold, to represent their country in the Olympics.
Zap2it: The win over the Soviet team was so tremendous; do people forget it wasn’t the gold medal game?
Jim Craig: Yes, and the other part that gets left out is that they had just beat us 10-3. The pressure was there, but it was not any more than having each player do the best they could. We had so much respect for one another. We really loved each other as teammates and needed each other to do something special.
Zap2it: What does it feel like to go back to Lake Placid, N.Y., the site of the 1980 Winter Olympics?
Jim Craig: Lake Placid is really hallowed ground. When you go there, you can feel the spirit of the Olympic Games. It’s a special, special spot.