The 2004 biographical film, Miracle (directed by Gavin O’Connor), depicts the true story of the 1980 United States Olympic Hockey team. This team of young college kids shocked the world by beating the mighty Soviet Union on the way to winning the gold medal at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, United States of America. After watching this film, please write a reflection piece including responses to the following questions (written as a continuous piece, not question/answer). In your writing, please incorporate your own thoughts on the events depicted in the film.
- Most sports are contested between national teams – how was this sporting event used for nationalist purposes? How was national solidarity promoted through the 1980 Winter Olympics overall and through the sport of Ice Hockey in particular?
- How did the actions of the coaches, management, and players reflect this sense of nationalism? For example, how did Head Coach Herb Brooks use national pride (and in what way) to facilitate team cohesion?
- The Olympic Games are the premier stage for nationalist competition, and its history reflects the history of political conflict since its inception at the end of the 19th century. How did the political events of the era (i.e., Cold War with Russia) impact this sense, and subsequent displays of nationalism?
- How did the rest of America respond to the events surrounding the 1980 Winter Olympics (particularly the potential boycott of the Russian team) and the US team performance throughout the Games?
- Do you think this magnitude of national pride is still prevalent on the international stage (i.e., in the 2008 Beijing Olympics)? Why or why not?
- Do you think the success of the US Hockey team at the Winter Olympics in 1980 had any impact on the decision of the US Olympic Committee to boycott the 1984 Summer Olympic Games?
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