Winter (Olympics) are coming. The quadrennial global competition kicks off in Pyeongchang, South Korea, this week, promising 17-days of events that will make—and crush—the gold medal dreams of athletes and fans hailing from around the work.
Whether you’re a figure skating fanatic or a casual observer of the (surprisingly captivating) sport of curling, chances are you’ll catch at least some portion of the Games. But you don’t have to wait until the Opening Ceremony festivities, to get into the Olympics spirit.
Looking for reason to don your most patriotic garb and chant USA! USA! from your couch a few days early? Look no further than Miracle, the 2004 Disney feature about the U.S. Men’s Hockey Team’s legendary run in the 1980 Olympics at Lake Placid. The movie chronicles a major moment in Olympic history, with all the makings of a classic sports film. There are players who overcome adversity on and off the ice, a gruff but lovable coach committed to his team above all (the iconic Herb Brooks, played by Kurt Russell), and, of course, a David-versus-Goliath matchup between the underdog Team USA and the Soviets (I’ll avoid a spoiler here, but you can probably guess—or Google—how that one ends).
I am in no way a hockey fan (does Wayne Gretzky still play?), and the sport is certainly not without faults. But I count Miracle among my favorite movies and, more than a decade after its release, still watch it at least once a year. Without fail, it moves me to tears. It captures the spirit of sport, the grit and determination it takes to compete at the highest levels, and the euphoria of watching your team succeed against the odds. As Brooks concludes in one of the movie’s closing scenes: “[On] one weekend, as America and the world watched, a group of remarkable young men gave the nation what it needed most: a chance, for one night, not only to dream, but a chance, once again, to believe.”
And, if you happen to be less sentimental and cheese-ball-inclined than I am, Miracle will, at the very least, give you an opportunity to practice your cheers before the real competitions get underway later this week. Rent it with Amazon Prime Video before the Games begin.
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