Photo: Steve Powell/Getty Images
40 years ago today, the U.S. men's hockey team beat Finland 4-2 to clinch gold at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Backdrop: Two days earlier, the U.S. upset the Soviet Union in the "Miracle on Ice," but that didn't guarantee a medal. In fact, if the U.S. had lost to Finland badly enough and Sweden tied the Soviets, the U.S. would have finished fourth.
The big picture: The Finland game has become a footnote in history, but if the Americans had lost that evening and not won gold, the "Miracle on Ice" wouldn't have become nearly as iconic.
Fun fact ... The famous U.S.-Soviet Union game was played at 5pm ET and shown on tape delay three hours later, so the only people in the U.S. who watched it live were the 8,500 fans in the stands.