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    The ultimate symbol of American sports' greatest hour!

    1980 U.S. Hockey "Miracle on Ice" Olympic Gold Medal Presented to Dave Christian. 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 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 sportcaster 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.

    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, Dave Christian." The medal measures three and one-eighth inches in diameter, and hangs from its original powder blue and white ribbon. The medal exhibits light handling wear and the ribbon some minor staining, but certainly nothing which could begin to distract from its immeasurable appeal. It remains housed in its original Tiffany case. Letter of provenance from Dave Christian.

    The Bill and Dave Christian Collection

    It's often said that lightning never strikes twice, but the tale of the Christian family belies that axiom. Both father and son were key figures in two of the most dramatic and glorious underdog tales in the history of American athletics, as members of the United States Olympic Ice Hockey teams of 1960 and 1980. While the latter has become a universally recognized part of our patriotic national folklore under the heading, "The Miracle on Ice," far fewer are aware that the rag-tag band of Davids that slew the Soviet Goliath at Lake Placid was, in point of fact, a sequel to a tale of equivalent improbability and intrigue.

    Two decades before son Dave and his 1980 teammates were celebrated as American heroes of Cold War athletics, father Bill Christian, along with his brother Roger, helped the United States claim the top step of the Olympic hockey podium, a climb at Squaw Valley arguably even more arduous than that of the subsequent edition. While both father and son defied the odds to topple the USSR, only the former was required to defeat all four of the top seeds-Canada, Czechoslovakia and Sweden-en route to Gold.

    After the success of partnerships between Heritage Auctions and several key figures of the "Miracle" team-Mike Eruzione, Phil Verchota and the family of deceased Hall of Fame coach Herb Brooks among them-the Christians have employed our services to present their own Olympic treasures to the collecting community. Each lot will be accompanied by a letter of provenance from the applicable member of this elite Olympic genetic line.



    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2016
    20th-21st Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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