Winter Olympics Through the Years: 1980

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

Lake Placid

Eric and the Miracles.

Over 1,100 athletes from 37 countries participated in the 1980 Winter Games, but the only ones most people will ever remember are 21–year-old American speed skater Eric Heiden, who won five individual gold medals, and the U.S. hockey team—a bunch of college kids (average age 22) who beat the unbeatable Russians.

No one before or since Heiden has won five individual gold medals in a single Olympic Games (three of swimmer Mark Spitz's seven gold medals were for relay races). And Heiden's sweep of the men's speed skating events has never been duplicated.

The hockey team, on the other hand, was a decided underdog. Seeded seventh out of 12 teams in the first round, they had also been routed, 10–3, by the Soviet Union in an exhibition game only a week before the Olympics.

Nevertheless, the Americans reached the final round with a 4–0–1 record. Playing in front of a boisterous, flag-waving home crowd, the U.S. upset the Soviets, 4–3 (captain Mike Eruzione scored the winning goal midway through the third period and goalie Jim Craig made 39 saves), then beat Finland, 4–2, to win the gold medal. “Do you believe in miracles?” asked ABC-TV announcer Al Michaels as the final seconds ticked off against the Russians. “Ye-s-s-s!”

That game was played on Feb. 22—five days short of exactly 20 years after the 1960 U.S. team beat the USSR, 3–2, on their way to the gold medal at Squaw Valley. Other links to the past included right wing Dave Christian, whose father Billy and uncle Roger were linemates on the 1960 team, and coach Herb Brooks, who had been the last player cut from the 1960 squad.

Swedish Alpine skier Ingemar Stenmark, who would retire in 1989 with 86 World Cup victories, won the slalom and GS for his only two Olympic wins.

Top 10 Standings

National medal standings are not recognized by the IOC. The unofficial point totals are based on 3 points for a gold medal, 2 for a silver and 1 for a bronze. Total medals are in parentheses.

1USSR (22)106648
 East Germany (23)97748
3USA (12)64228
4Finland (9)15316
5Austria (7)32215
 Norway (10)13615
7Sweden (4)30110
 Liechtenstein (4)22010
9Holland (4)1218
 Switzerland (5)1138

Leading Medal Winners

Number of individual medals won on the left; gold, silver and bronze breakdown to the right.


No SportG-S-B
5Eric Heiden, USASp. Skating5-0-0
3Nikolai Zimatov, USSRX-country3-0-0
3Anatoly Alyabiev, USSRBiathlon2-0-1
3Frank Ullrich, E. Ger.Biathlon1-2-0
3Juha Mieto, FINX-country0-2-1
2Ingemar Stenmark, SWEAlpine2-0-0
2Vladimir Alikin,USSRBiathlon1-1-0
2Josef Benz, SWIBobsled1-1-0
2Hans Jurgen Gerhardt, E. Ger.Bobsled1-1-0
2Bernhard Germeshausen, E. Ger.Bobsled1-1-0
2Vasili Rochev, USSRX-country1-1-0
2Erich Schärer, SWIBobsled1-1-0
2Bogdan Musiol, E. Ger.Bobsled1-0-1
2Meinhard Nehmer, E. Ger.Bobsled1-0-1
2Kai Arne Stenshjemmet, NORSp. Skate0-2-0
2Ove Aunli, NORX-country0-1-1
2Eberhard Rosch, E. Ger.Biathlon0-1-1
2Tom Erik Oxholm, NORSp. Skate0-0-2


No SportG-S-B
3Hanni Wenzel, LIEAlpine2-1-0
2Barbara Petzold, E. Ger.X-country2-0-0
2Raisa Smetanina, USSRX-country1-1-0
2Natalia Petruseva, USSRSp. Skate1-0-1
2Leah Mueller, USASp. Skate0-2-0
2Hilkka Riihivuori, FINX-country0-2-0
2Sabine Becker, E. Ger.Sp. Skate0-1-1

Alpine Skiing


Event  Time
DownhillLeonhard Stock, AUT1:45.50
SlalomIngemar Stenmark, SWE1:44.26
G.SlalomIngemar Stenmark, SWE2:40.74


Event  Time
DownhillAnnemarie Moser-Pröll, AUT1:37.52
SlalomHanni Wenzel, LIE1:25.09
G.SlalomHanni Wenzel, LIE2:41.66


Event MTAdj.Time
10kmFrank Ullrich, E. Ger.232:10.69
20kmAnatoly Alyabiev, USSR01:08:16.31
4x7.5kmUSSR (Alikin, Tikonov, Barnashov,


Event  Time
2-ManSWI (Erich Schärer & Josef Benz)4:09.36
4-ManE. Ger (Meinhard Nehmer, Bogdan
 Musiol, Bernhard Germeshausen, Hans-Jürgen Gerhardt)3:59.92

Figure Skating

Event  Points
MenRobin Cousins, GBR189.48
WomenAnett Pötzsch, E. Ger.189.00
PairsIrina Rodnina & Aleksandr Zaitsev, USSR147.26
DanceNatalia Linichuk 
 & Gennady Karponosov, USSR 205.48

Ice Hockey

Medal Round

(Overall records in parentheses)

1USA (6-0-1)32-0-15107
2USSR (6-1-0)32-1-04168
3Sweden (4-1-2)30-1-22714
4Finland (3-3-1)30-2-11711
Note: Games against common opponents carried over from the preliminary round. FIRST ROUND—USA tied Sweden, 2–2, and USSR over Finland, 4–2. MEDAL ROUND—USA over USSR, 4–3, and Finland, 4–2; USSR over Sweden, 9–2; and Sweden tied Finland, 3–3.



Event  Time
1-SeatBernhard Glass, E. Ger.2:54.796
2-SeatHans Rinn & Norbert Hahn, E. Ger.1:19.331


Event  Time
1-SeatVera Zozulia, USSR2:36.537

Nordic Skiing


Cross Country

Event  Time
15kmThomas Wassberg, SWE41:57.63
30kmNikolai Zimyatov, USSR1:27:02.80
50kmNikolai Zimyatov, USSR2:27:24.60
4x10kmUSSR (Rochev, Bazhukov,
 Beliaev, Zimyatov)1:57:03.46

Ski Jumping

Event  Points
70mAnton Innauer, AUT266.3
90mJouko Törmänen, FIN271.0

Nordic Combined

Event Points
15km/JumpUlrich Wehling, E. Ger.432.200


Cross Country

Event  Time
5kmRaisa Smetanina, USSR15:06.92
10kmBarbara Petzold, E. Ger.30:31.54
4x5kmE. Ger. (Rostock, Anding, Hesse,

Speed Skating


Event  Time  
500mEric Heiden, USA38.03OR
1000mEric Heiden, USA1:15.18OR
1500mEric Heiden, USA1:55.44OR
5000mEric Heiden, USA7:02.29OR
10,000mEric Heiden, USA14:28.13WR


Event  Time  
500mKarin Enke, E. Ger.41.78OR
1000mNatalia Petruseva, USSR1:24.10OR
1500mAnnie Borckink, NED2:10.95OR
3000mBjoerg Eva Jensen, NOR4:32.13OR
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