The United States and Russia pick up their hockey rivalry once more Saturday in a rematch of the fabled 1980 game dubbed the “Miracle on Ice.” Americans remember the stunning victory over the Russians at Lake Placid, N.Y., in 1980 fondly, and a new generation got to relive the moment through a Disney movie starring Kurt Russell’s hair. Older Russians hope the 2014 sequel to the 1980 game could help them forget about the stunning 4-3 loss.
The teams are far more evenly matched this time around. However, Russia has home ice this time and fearsome offense led by Alex Ovechkin. The U.S. will hope to quell that attack starting with goaltender Jonathan Quick, who was steady in the Americans’ opening 7-1 win over Slovakia.
Hockey isn’t the only arena Russia and the U.S. hold a rivalry. These are our 10 favorite from popular culture.
10. Rocky & Bullwinkle vs. Boris Badenov
Ah yes, the classic Moose and Squirrel vs. colorless short man with halfhearted mustache. The only reason this isn’t number one is Jason Alexander. You know what you did.
9. Winter Soldier vs. Captain America
Captain America’s sidekick Bucky Barnes lost an arm and suffered from amnesia after surviving a plane crash. Russia brainwashed Barnes, gave him a robotic arm, and turned him into the assassin Winter Soldier. It would seem the Russians had turned Steve Rogers’ closest friend into his worst enemy, but Rogers begs Barnes to “remember who you are” and then — well, read the comic book (or watch the new movie).
8. Frank Drebin vs. Gorbachev’s birthmark
He knew it.
7. Teddy KGB vs. Mike McDermott
Rounders continues to be under appreciated, especially John Malkovich’s turn as Russian mobster and poker boss Teddy KGB. Matt Damon plays Mike McDermott, the young up-and-comer who challenges KGB and elicits one of the great lines in history (behind “Where’s the beef”).
6. 1972 United States basketball team vs. the space time continuum
The indefinite continued progress of existence was briefly halted in a German gym in 1972 when the clock ran out on the Soviet basketball team in the gold medal game, then, miraculously and without any Communist Bloc shenanigans whatsoever, had three seconds added back to it. To this day, American players haven’t accepted their undeserved silver medals, probably because their heads can’t wrap around how every tenet of science was disproved that day.
5. Marko Ramius vs. Jack Ryan
Captain Ramius: [spoken "You parle ruski"] You speak Russian.
Jack Ryan: [in Russian] A little. It is wise to study the ways of ones adversary. Don’t you think?
Captain Ramius: [in English] It is.
4. All Americans vs. The Guy Who Invented Tetris
As if it wasn’t annoying enough you always got a square instead of that long piece you needed for a Tetris, the inventor of the famous falling puzzle game had to make his game’s soundtrack that catchy-as-all-get-out Russian song that’s guaranteed to be stuck in your head for the next 12 hours.
3. Laika The Soviet Dog vs. Ham The Chimp
When most people think of the space race they think of Khrushchev vs. Johnson, Gagarin vs. Glenn or Sputnik vs. whatever the first U.S. satellite was called. We think of the brave animals that went into space before humans, all in the name of exploration. They include Laika, the Soviet dog and Ham, the American chimp. They’re the forgotten heroes of the space race. But did Ham get a ticker-tape parade down the Canyon of Heroes when he returned from his suborbital flight? No. He got an apple and half an orange. We don’t even want to tell you what happened to Laika.
2. Ivan Drago vs. Rocky Balboa
Drago killed Apollo Creed, showing no remorse as Rocky held his friend in his arms. It’s the catalyst that drives Rocky back into ring, to stand up for Apollo and the rest of the United States.
But over the course of the fight, something comes over the Italian Stallion and in the 15th round he knocks Drago out, giving the victory speech that turned Soviet Russia into Rocky Balboa fans.
“If I can change, and you can change, then everybody can change!”
1. Maverick and Goose vs. the Mig
Kelly McGillis thinks the Soviet MiG 21 has a problem with inverted flight tanks. She thinks they won’t do a Negative G push over. Even below that level, those fighters risk a flame out. NOT SO FAST, MY RIGHTEOUS-BROTHERS-LOVING FRIEND! Maverick and Goose went into a 4G inverted dive with a MiG 21. What were they doing, you ask? Communicating. Keeping up foreign relations. You know, flipping them the bird.
Look for the Winter Morning Win every day during the Olympics.
A Princeton PhD, was a U.S. diplomat for over 20 years, mostly in Central/Eastern Europe, and was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service in 1997. After leaving the State Department in order to express opposition to the planned invasion of Iraq, he taught courses at Georgetown University pertaining to the tension between propaganda and public diplomacy. For many years he shared ideas on the theme "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United" with Eurasian/European delegates participating in the "Open World" program.
Brown’s articles have appeared in numerous publications. A recent piece is “Janus-Faced Public Diplomacy: Creel and Lippmann During the Great War” (published in Nontraditional U.S. Public Diplomacy: Past, Present, and Future; now online).
He is the author (with S. Grant) of The Russian Empire and the USSR: A Guide to Manuscripts and Archival Materials in the United States (also online). In the past century, he served as an editor/translator of a joint U.S.-Soviet publication, The Establishment of Russian-American Relations, 1765-1815.