It is a sad day when a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team has to auction off his prized medal to pay for his medical bills. Mark Wells was the 21 year old center for the U.S. Olympic winning hockey team in 1980. The member of the "miracle on ice" sold his medal on auction for just over $311,000 to a medal collector. In a yahoo article there was speculation that Mr. Wells fell on hard times and had to sell the medal to pay for medical bills, although I could not find another article to support this statement. Assuming that the article was correct in stating it was for financial struggles then this it is extremely sad that such a special item was put up for auction.
Despite not being alive for this miracle, being a hockey fan I am very familiar with the story and how important this win was to America. At the time Ronald Reagan and America was in the middle of the cold war with the Soviet Union the two countries entered the Olympics competitive. Competitive might be an understatement...they were cut throat. To add to this tension between the two countries the Soviet Union prided themselves on their tough, hard nosed, hard hitting and winning hockey history. The U.S. wanted to punch them in the nose and did by coming back and taking the Gold in the 1980's Olympics.
Many Americans look back fondly on the win and still speak like it happened yesterday. Disney made a movie called "Miracle" and despite being a good movie, I can imagine it only captures a small portion of the emotions felt that day. Every time the Winter Olympics come around come around the "Miracle on Ice" is brought up and talks of the next miracle is discussed.
Let me give you some perspective on the situation. The magnitude of giving up this medal, even if the owner is receiving well over a quarter of a million dollars, is like having to sell your wife's engagement ring on your 50th anniversary. Imagina pouring your heart and soul into a team, playing your guts out night after night, and winning the gold medal when all odds were against you. If you were alive, remember the feeling that generated, if you weren't remember back to the feeling you had when you had a big accomplishment or your team won a big game. Now multiply that by the entire world routing for or against you and the entire U.S. living and dying by your performance, and then you deliver. Mark Wells had to give up the medal that commemorated that hard work and victory.
No one can take away what Mark Wells did to help the U.S. team win the Gold in 1980. He will always be in the history books and he will always have the memories. It is still important to remember how much that medal meant to Mark Wells and how hard it must of been to give it up. Keep Mark Wells in your thoughts...and whoever owns that medal now...realize that you own one of twenty medals from that team. The team that made America's hair stand and that brought American pride back to households. No matter what anyone says there will never be another "Miracle on Ice." Another U.S. win in American hockey will not be the same as the team that captured America's heart in 1980.
The Marris Minute