Wow, has it really been 38 years? It is crazy how quickly time flies! Right now, I am in the car with my wife trekking through a snow storm in upstate New York to go back to the place where all the magic happened; Lake Placid, New York. I woke up today so excited after the huge shoot-out victory the US women’s hockey team had over their longtime rivals Team Canada. Right from the beginning of the game you could feel the energy – these women on both teams have been huge role models for women’s hockey all over the world and the US had some unfinished business to take care of. If Canada would have won last night, they would have been the first team in men’s or women’s Olympic hockey to have won 5 straight Olympics – the first time a team has been in that position since the Soviets at the 1980 Olympic games. The determination, grit, hard work, discipline and togetherness of Team USA reminded me a lot of our 1980 team. February 22nd
will forever be a day marked in the history of USA hockey.
Today I feel nostalgic – I can’t wait to go back into locker room #5 and stand at center ice and close my eyes and remember. Remember that moment in history, that moment that forever changed my life. Going into the game we were considered the underdogs and were predicted to get dominated by the Soviet Olympic team like we did a few weeks prior at Madison Square Garden. However, people do not understand that Herb Brooks had been preparing for that game way before the Olympic team was even chosen. He knew how to change the way we played and how to defeat the unstoppable Russian team. Going into the Olympics we knew that we were going to be the best conditioned team. Herb’s famous line was, “The legs feed the wolf, gentlemen” and he meant it. He thought our team how to train, think, and play differently. He was a leader that pulled greatness out of everyone in different ways without us even knowing he was doing it. He took 20 individuals from having the same dream and turned it into a shared dream.
During the Soviet game, I treated each period like it was a full game and broke down the period into three sections. In between each period, I would take off my equipment and put it back on to refocus for the next period – forgetting what had happened the period before. Anyone on our team will tell you that after we took the lead we knew the game was far from over. Herb trained us to be mentally prepared for anything that came our way. Together we stood as one unit and showed the world why the United States should never be underestimated.
It is so humbling that our game 38 years ago is still relevant today and that people still feel inspired by it. The beauty of what our team accomplished in Lake Placid was way beyond a hockey game – it was felt across the nation and it gave hope to people to take risks and to believe in the impossible. In the words of Herb Brooks, “Great moments are born from great opportunities” so make sure you are taking full advantage of every opportunity and do not be intimidated by the impossibility but motivated by the possibility.
People always ask me, “Jimmy, what is your favorite Olympic memory?”. I can’t speak for my teammates, but for me it is a tie between two separate memories. Each memory I cherish for different reasons… but I don’t think I could choose one, “favorite”. It’s funny, most people recall the game when we upset the Soviets 4-3; but that wasn’t the Gold Medal game! Everyone in our locker room enjoyed that victory for a brief second before Herb reminded us that our job wasn’t done and the Olympics was far from over. Of course, beating the Russians felt AMAZING! To have the support from unwavering fans screaming, U-S-A, U-S-A from the rafters at a sold-out game was something I cannot accurately put into words.
I still get chills thinking about how our team came together and could take the same dream and transform it into a shared dream under the leadership of Herb Brooks. Our country needed to feel good again, and my teammate Jack O’Callahan said it best when he stated that when we put on that USA jersey it was like our own fight against what was going on during the Cold War. I think that is why our team’s story is still so relevant today – people were invested in that game beyond the ice rink. We could show that when all the odds were against us, the United States could not be stopped.
The first memory of mine is one that was a very intimidate moment between me and my father that was captured by the media. A lot of people do not realize that to achieve your dreams and goals it takes the love, support, and sacrifice of those around you. Although we were celebrating my success, I wanted to share that moment with my family. Without the love and support of my dad and mom I would not have had the opportunity to be an Olympian. Seeing the joy on my dad’s face and how proud I made him that I was his son is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
The second memory is when Mike Eruzione called up our team during the medal ceremony. It was a miracle that we could get 20 grown men onto one podium! But being there, surrounded by the family we started the adventure with in Lake Placid, was a perfect ending to an incredible ride. Singing our national anthem loud and embracing each other while we watched the United States flag being raised higher than all the other competing countries was the proudest moment of my life. What we accomplished was amazing, I am so grateful that I was given the opportunity to represent our country and have a platform now that I truly believe I help companies and individuals reach the best of their abilities. With hard work, determination, and the right leadership, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite sayings that I think is relevant, “Don’t ever let your memories be bigger than your dreams.”
USA Hockey Takes Center Stage
USA Olympic hockey is finally here and I could not be more excited! Both the US Men and Women teams are looking to create history. The women are looking for some unsettled scores and to take home the gold. Their fire, determination, and perseverance is paving the way for women’s hockey. It is incredible how much these young women have been able to grow the sport and inspire young girls around the world
. Waking up early to watch the US Women’s team defeat Finland 3-1 was incredible! It reminded me a lot of how our Olympic journey started in Lake Placid. Coming back from behind and coming together to play as a unit with a shared dream. I am so excited to follow their journey and watch their dreams become a reality.
There has been a lot of anticipation for the US Men’s hockey team. The NHL’s decision to not allow professional athletes to participate has opened the door to amateur players. It is their chance to show what they have to offer on a world stage! This opportunity allows them to not only represent their country, but to bring some extra fire to the game. To a lot of these players, this is an opportunity that they probably never dreamed of. Back in 1980, our team was made up of mostly college kids ages 20-22. So, this Olympics is especially special to me; I feel like I connect with a lot of these players on a higher level. I know the excitement they are feeling, the pressure of the unknown, and the sheer privilege of being able to put on that jersey and represent our country.
I cannot wait to watch the games and wish nothing but the best to all the US athletes competing. The time is now, all your hard work and preparation is for this – go out there and show them what USA is made of!
The Winter Olympics Are Here!
Every time the Winter Olympics are about to start, I get a rush of emotions that remind me how lucky I am to be able to say I am an Olympic Gold Medalist. It seems like it was just yesterday that the small town of Lake Placid was transformed into a world stage for athletes from all over the world to compete and live out their dreams. I was only a 21-year-old with high expectations, & my teammates and I were committing to a shared dream while believing in something bigger than ourselves.
The opening ceremonies were an incredible achievement, a moment I will cherish forever. To be able to walk side by side with the greatest athletes in the world and forget about all the chaos that is going on in the world outside of the games is something that is hard to put into words. There is a strong presence of nationalism and unity between all countries. Being in the United States and watching our flag wave amongst the rest of the competing countries made me realize that having big dreams is worth all the hard work and that the impossible becomes possible when you believe. There was no doubt that it was the mentorship and sacrifices by an army of role models, especially my family, to help get me to that moment. I would not have had the opportunity to represent our country if it was not from the unwavering support of those around me.
I still get chills recalling our national anthem being played when we achieved our dream and won the gold medal - I felt like I was sharing that moment with our country. At that moment, I would have never in my wildest dreams have predicted what our team was able to accomplish or the positive effect that we would have on our country. To a lot of people our game represented hope and allowed them to feel good again and believe the United States was unstoppable no matter what the odds. It amazes me that still 38 years later, I get stopped and told that people of all ages that they can remember exactly where they were, who they were with, and what they were doing when we defeated the Soviets. My teammates and I now can watch and appreciate all these young athletes live out their own dreams and create their own stories.
When the Winter Olympics were held in on Salt Lake City my teammates and I had the honor of lightning the cauldron at the Opening Ceremonies in Salt Lake City, Utah. My role has shifted from a Olympian to a fan, and it amazes me how much technology allows you to feel like you are on the same journey with these athletes. I wish all of the Olympic and Paralympic athletes a safe and successful journey that they will cherish for a life time. Good luck as the world and I cheer you on along the way!
Video Messages from Jim:
Why Numotion - Jim discusses his partnership with Numotion
Dreams - Jim discusses the importance of dreams
Goals - Jim discusses goal setting and accountability
Productivity - Jim discusses productivity
Why CRT - Jim discusses why he's passionate about CRT advocacy
About Jim Craig
Jim Craig is an American ice hockey goaltender who was part of the U.S. hockey team that won the gold medal during the 1980 Olympics at Lake Placid, New York. The American victory in the hockey tournament, known as the “miracle on ice,” was one of the greatest surprises in the history of the Olympics. Craig, who started every game in goal, was a leading figure in the team’s success. One of the enduring images of the 1980 Games was of Craig, wrapped in the American flag, searching the stands for his widowed father in order to share the gold-medal-winning victory. Following the Olympics, Craig played in the NHL for the Atlanta Flames, Boston Bruins, and Minnesota North stars before he suffered a career ending injury. Today, Jim is the President and Owner of Gold Medal Strategies, a motivational speaking and training company where he travels across the U.S. inspiring individuals and teams to be the best they can be and emphasizing that anything is possible when you believe. For more information, follow Jim on his social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).