The 1980 United States hockey team consisting of amateur and college players appeared to have little chance to win the Olympic tournament; indeed, the team had won only one Olympic medal since 1960 going into the 1980 Winter Olympics. The team was placed in a preliminary pool after the pre-Olympic exhibition game, where it lost to the Soviet Union. Shortly after, United States went on to complete pool play alongside Norway, Romania and West Germany. The Soviets had won four straight medals and had beaten their opponents in pool play. The first period of the United States – Soviet match ended with the scores tied at two goals. The United States defense led by Jim Craig completed the striking 4 to 3 victory, stimulating Al Michaels’s celebrated comment ‘‘Do you believe in miracles? Yes!’’ Two days after their victory, the team beat Finland 4 to 2 securing the gold medal and achieving its astonishing Olympic victory (Boan). The striking picture promoted by media, showing the successful achievement of an extraordinary task illustrates the influence of sports activities and mass media itself over the way people think about themselves in their cultural values. Sports activities are the furthermost suitable means to create an imaginary of national unity, puritan morality, achievement and success, change and progress, effort and optimism, efficiency and pragmatism. Several examples of such values have been portrayed in the documentary Do You Believe in Miracles? For instance, hockey players required intense training and competitiveness in order to be able to participate in Olympic tournaments. Puritan morality was depicted when Soviet players and coaches were described as robots that showed none or little emotion and never smiled. Soviet team members described hockey as their way of living requiring enormous effort and sacrifice like the separation from their families. This representation of the Soviet team symbolized the antithesis to American values setting the well-known image of ‘‘good versus evil’’ (Pedersen, Miloch, & Laucella). American players are often seen differently from their counterparts; contrary to the image portrayed from the Soviet coach, Brooks himself was framed as a charismatic character able to bring his team together and defeat the Soviets while at the same time keep his family obligations. On the other hand, sports in United States likewise constitute a cogent cultural phenomenon where competition is one of its main features. Participation in team sports promotes attitudes that are mostly related to competitiveness. Competition within the context of sports is showed at several levels including players being interested in acquiring a place on a team and being better than other players; players being interested in helping other players to improve the performance of the team (cooperative); players being interested in performing well regardless of the team performance (individualism). Sports activities load media and socio-economic and educational sceneries in United States, acquiring an undeniable significance in the American culture. Sports activities were exclusive domain of wealthy classes during the 1800s; however, nowadays they are an important issue in the American culture. Moreover, children are cheered to participate in sports activities mainly because parents
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Societal values are relative principles which are subjective and depend on individual and cultural views. These values are not constant; they are modified according to individual and collective experiences and interpretations of reality. As a consequence, societal values not only are shared by the members of the social cluster, but also are able to influence attitudes and behaviors of people…
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