Jim Craig and his teammates on the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team came along at exactly the right time. Against a backdrop of national insecurity and anxiety, the Opening Ceremonies of the XIII Olympic Winter Games took place in Lake Placid, NY.

Within the three months prior to the Opening Ceremonies, Americans were taken hostage in Iran, and the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. It seemed that the U.S. was powerless to combat or resolve either of those crises.

Yet even before the hostage taking and the Soviet invasion, America was hurting. There was an energy shortage and inflation was high.

If nothing more than a temporary diversion from the harshness of reality at the time, the Olympic Games were strongly embraced by Americans. On July 15, 1979, in an attempt to rally the country, President Jimmy Carter spoke on television to the American people. President Carter directly addressed that America was suffering from a “crisis of confidence.” He told of one citizen who said to him, “Mr. President, we are confronted with a moral and spiritual crisis.” Another citizen said to the president, “Mr. President, we’re in trouble. Talk to us about blood and sweat and tears.”

For more about Jim, read his full bio.