As all of the US and Canada prepare for today’s women’s gold medal game and tomorrow’s men’s semifinal games in Sochi, here is a fun read on the 1960 gold medal winning US team.
On the first day of practice in Squaw Valley, for a workout open to coaches of all of his upcoming rivals, Riley told his team to stage a fake fight to give the impression that the U.S. squad was nothing but a bunch of cowboys. If he couldn’t beat the Soviets and Canadians in skill, he figured, maybe he could beat them psychologically.
But the fight quickly evolved from a mock battle to a real one. Riley, a military dude who knew how to pick a battle to win a war, let the fight go on for several minutes — long enough to convince enemy observers that the States team were undisciplined madmen.
Oh course, the fun trivia tidbit about the 1960 team was that Herb Brooks, the coach of the 1980 team, was the last man cut from the roster. After the US won, his father looked at him and said, “Looks like they cut the right guy.” That slight fueled Brooks the rest of his life.