LAKE PLACID - Shortly before 54-year-old Carol Chan of Washington, D.C. skated onto the Herb Brooks Arena ice for the official Miracle on Ice Fantasy Camp photo Wednesday, March 29, she explained what the U.S. Olympic hockey team's 4-3 win over the Soviet Union on Feb. 22, 1980 meant to the country.
"I don't think they realize how important that win was for the United States and how a lot of people look at that as a real critical juncture in American history," Chan said. "That one win was really quite amazing, which I think draws a lot of people back to this sport and draws a lot of people to the Miracle on Ice Fantasy Camp."
A first-time participant of the fantasy camp, Chan works for the U.S. Agency for International Development's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance. She took home a silver medal as a member of Gold Rush team. Her coaches were 1980 U.S. hockey team players Ken Morrow, Jim Craig and Rob McClanahan.
Carol Chan Q&A
LPN: You were 17 years old during the 1980 Winter Olympics?
Chan: Exactly. I was a senior in high school.
LPN: Did you watch the game?
Chan: I saw parts of the game. It was also the same year that my high school hockey team was up for their championship, so it was pretty cool to watch. I remember images of Jim Craig at the end of the game, looking for his dad with the flag draped around him. It was moving.
It was just a really interesting time because it was a period in time when politically things were very confusing.
It was a huge win for the United States. What these guys did was, again, it was about teamwork and leadership, and they continue to give back.
LPN: Did you grow up in Washington?
Chan: No, I actually grew up in Connecticut. We were very poor, so there was no way I could play hockey.
LPN: How did you get involved in hockey.
Chan: I've been wanting to play for about 20 years, but there weren't any rinks around near me, so I waited. And just recently, about four years ago, there was a rink that opened up not too far away, and I'm like, "Wow, this seems like an organic moment. Now is the time to pick up the sport." Because I had never played before. So I've just been playing for the past four years.
LPN: What was your experience like here?
Chan: It was fantastic. I love the coaching. I love the people. At the Miracle on Ice Fantasy Camp, they're just very customer-oriented. It's really well done. They really pay attention to the clients. They have really high emotional intelligence, and it's really quite special. Most important was the great coaching I got.
I'm going to bring this back to Washington, and it's going to make me a better player, just because I had professional coaching at this point in my life. I don't know where you can buy that. I can't go to college anymore and play hockey.