Thirty-three years ago today--a Friday no less, the news of the USA Hockey team's stunning victory over the vaunted Russian team in the Olympics, was first reported and heard in the Bay Area, by Joe Starkey.
|Lake Placid NY, Feb 22, 1980|
Yes, that Joe Starkey.
Starkey was KGO Radio's morning sports anchor and was reporting live and direct from the Lake Placid Indoor Arena.
Of course, there was no Internet. And while millions of Americans knew the score via simple word of mouth and unintended wire service reports, it was Starkey's riveting account from a loud, cheering, upstate NY arena that would provide details of one of the biggest and most famous events in US sports history.
The actual game--a la Al Michael's, DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES? chant, was televised later that night on ABC-TV.
UPDATE: Just received this e-mail from Starkey:
Rich: Some details you might enjoy knowing: The game was scheduled for tape delay on West Coast but actually played at a time that fit into the afternoon news block. I had just gone to work for KGO as Sports Director after 8 years in the NHL so I knew the game and players very well, even the Russians. When I saw the miracle begin to unfold I called the KGO newsroom and said I am willing to risk my job for you to stop the newscast and let me broadcast the final 10 minutes. There were no cell phones so I was on a regular phone line about 15 feet from Al Michaels and Ken Dryden and did the radio play by play which all West Coast ABC radio stations jumped in on immediately. I have always said for pure drama and scope of a sporting event it even surpassed the "Band is on the field". By the way, I didn't listen to the tape for many years and when I did I realized I used many of the same adjectives I used two years later at the end of "the play."
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