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1980 U.S. Hockey "Miracle on Ice" Olympic Gold Medal Presented to Mark Pavelich....

2014 May 15 - 17 Sports Collectibles Catalog Auction - Dallas #7105

 
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Auction Ended On: May 16, 2014
Item Activity: 10 Internet/mail bidders
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Location: Heritage Auctions
3500 Maple Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219

Description:
1980 U.S. Hockey "Miracle on Ice" Olympic Gold Medal Presented to Mark Pavelich. They finally made a movie about it in 2004. It had to be done, and it's frankly surprising that it took almost a quarter century for "Miracle" to hit the big screen, Kurt Russell providing star power as coach Herb Brooks. If it hadn't actually happened, Hollywood screenwriters should have dreamt it up, the archetypical David vs. Goliath story, a ragtag band of American amateurs facing the Soviet elite, set against the backdrop of the Cold War. But one wonders if the audiences could have possibly suspended disbelief during the glorious third act if it wasn't actually a true story.

Everybody knows that the 1980 US Olympic Hockey round-robin match between the USSR and the US was expected to be a painfully lopsided affair. Of the twenty players who made the final roster of the US team, only one had prior Olympic experience. The rest were primarily college kids, nine of them (including Pavelich) members of Herb Brooks' University of Minnesota team. Four more were from Boston University. The Soviet players were classed as amateurs, but were effectively supported by the Soviet government which provided them with world-class training facilities and unlimited professional-level team play. Three of the Soviet team members, goalie Vladislav Tretiak and forwards Valeri Kharlamov and Viacheslav Fetisov, are today enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Not a single player on the American team can boast that distinction.

Three times the Soviets took the lead, and three times the Americans battled back to even footing. The game-winner would come with ten minutes left to play, when Mike Eruzione, left undefended in the high slot, scored the fourth goal for the home team, sending the Lake Placid crowd of 8,500 into hysterics. But nothing could match the decibel level as sportscaster Al Michaels gave his famous, game-closing call:

"Eleven seconds, you've got ten seconds, the countdown going on right now! Morrow, up to Silk. Five seconds left in the game. Do you believe in miracles?...YES!"

Though the United States team would need one more come from behind victory, against Finland, to clinch the top level of the Olympic podium, their victory over the seemingly invincible Russian juggernaut is widely recognized at the greatest moment in American sports history. Heritage Auctions proudly presents the 1980 Olympic Ice Hockey Gold Medal presented to twenty-one year old forward Mark Pavelich for his contributions to the historic cause.

Crafted by the illustrious "Tiffany & Co.," the extraordinary prize offers world class aesthetics befitting its historic importance. The obverse provides a raised torch framed between the words "XIII Olympic Winter Games" and the Olympic rings. The reverse utilizes conifer imagery at right to balance the raised text "Lake Placid 1980" and the engraved lettering "Ice Hockey, Mark Pavelich." The original presentational case is included.

This is the first 1980 US Hockey Olympic Gold Medal to reach the hobby's auction block since teammate Mark Wells' representation commanded $310,700 in the November 2010 Heritage Signature Auction--certainly this is the more significant of the pair. Pavelich rates among the most recognizable figures from Lake Placid, notching two assists in the victory over the Soviets, including Mike Eruzione's game-winner. He would go on to set a still-standing record for points as a rookie (76) for the New York Rangers, and is ranked number eighty-three in John Wiley & Sons' volume "100 Ranger Greats." Letter of provenance from Mark Pavelich.

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