But for fate, George Michael, not Al Michaels, would have been the voice of the Miracle on Ice
George Michael may be the only American who wasn't thrilled by the Miracle on Ice. As a sportscaster at WABC-AM in New York and the radio play-by-play man for the NHL Islanders in the late '70s, Michael expected to get the job of announcing the 1980 Olympic hockey tournament on ABC-TV. Instead the assignment went to Al Michaels, whose call of the U.S. upset of the Soviet Union at Lake Placid--"Do you believe in miracles? Yes!"--became an instant classic.
History will judge ABC's decision kindly, but Michael was crushed. After all, it could have been him. "When they beat the Russians, I was about as depressed as you could get," Michael says. "I thought, Man, the golden opportunity of your career just vanished before your eyes." Instead, Michael's lost chance became his big break. After the Olympic snub he moved to D.C., where his Sports Final became a local hit, and the Sports Machine was soon born. --B.S.