Thursday, March 6, 2014

US-USSR hockey, 1960 Winter Olympics

A little late perhaps, but I just ran across this footage today: CBS' coverage of the first period of the US - USSR hockey game at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, CA, with - I believe - Bud Palmer at the mic for the play-by-play.  (There are several versions available; this one appears to be the complete game.)

A few observations: first, Bud Palmer isn't exactly an unbiased announcer, is he?  But I always enjoyed listening to his work.

As was the case with the 1980 Miracle on Ice, this isn't the gold medal game; the medals were decided based on the overall record of the teams in the medal round.  The US finished with a perfect 5-0 record in that round, followed by Canada at 4-1, and the Soviet Union at 2-2-1.  The US actually clinched the gold with their 9-4 victory over Czechoslovakia the next day.  (By the way, the corners on the ice surface are really deep, aren't they?  It makes the rink look almost rectangular.)

And did you notice the sunshine streaming across parts of the ice and the crowd?  Olympic regulations of the time required all events to be held outside (or, more precisely, they couldn't be held "under a roof"); thus, Blyth Arena  was constructed with one complete side open (the one facing the camera).  The Olympic rings were attached via cables, and ropes were hung down in an effort to cut down on the sun's glare on the ice.  I don't know how you all feel about it, but I think it's kind of neat.  And with the success of the NHL's Winter Classic, why not have all the skating events outside?  The arena in Cortina for the 1956 games did this to great effect.*

*Not to mention it's appearance in the James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only.

Al Michaels, eat your heart out!  

Cross-posted at It's About TV!

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