No chance Russia will look past the USA this time

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 14, 2014 at 3:25 pm •  Published: February 14, 2014
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SOCHI, Russia (AP) — As horror movies go, Dmitry Chernyshenko makes no claims to be a connoisseur or critic. Yet he had no problem editing the list of films that haunted his childhood down to three.

"Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th," the head of the Sochi 2014 organizing committee said Friday.

And the third?

He smirked.

"Miracle on Ice," Chernyshenko said.

The film depicting the upset win by a team made up mostly of U.S. college hockey players over the Soviet Union's dynastic "Big Red Machine" at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics is actually titled "Miracle." But everyone old enough to remember the game — Chernyshenko was 11 at the time — knows exactly what he was talking about.

"We all grew up in the culture that hockey is a religion in our country," Chernyshenko said, "and we were educated by this very dramatic story of the competition between our two great countries."

That rivalry is renewed Saturday inside the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi, though this time it's only a preliminary round game instead of a semifinal. What's also different is the diminished tension surrounding this encounter. The 1980 game was played against the backdrop of a still-simmering Cold War, portrayed as a surrogate battle of good vs. evil. Which side was which depended largely on where you viewed it from.

The young men on both sides who play one another Saturday tend to see it only through the prism of hockey.

"We don't refer to them as the big, bad Russians, because we know a lot of them and play with a lot of them (in the National Hockey League)," said U.S. captain Zach Parise. "There just isn't the political rivalry that there was back then. But it's still special when you see the U.S.-Russia matchup.



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