MADISON, Wis. (WEAU)-- "It's almost like wine... and as time goes along it gets a little bit better and so as a player and someone who participated in it, you probably appreciate it more than you did 10-15 years ago because it was so special to a number of people and a country," says 1980 United States Olympic hockey player Mark Johnson.
"It's been nearly four decades since the United States men's hockey team won gold in Lake Placid. Former Badgers Mark Johnson and Bob Suter were two of the heroes on that Miracle on Ice team, providing inspiration to future generations of hockey players."
Johnson says, "For us who were part of that group, it's always going to be special. It didn't change your life but it affected your life in a lot of different ways. Whether it was right after Lake Placid or as we sit here today. Just getting into a conversation with people that you don't know and the impact it had on those individuals. Some of those people who were old enough to watch those games on tape delay or now the generation of people who have seen the movie "Miracle", everybody has a story to tell. So everybody talks about it."
Another Wisconsin Badgers hockey great, Tony Granato will coach the United States Men's Olympic hockey team in Pyeongchang. Granato was a teenager in 1980 and says that group of USA Olympians became his heroes.
Granato says, "I didn't know much about international hockey, didn't know much about the Olympics but I watched those guys. Mark, Bobby, Mike Eurizone, and they became my heroes, and they gave me the inspiration to dream someday of having the chance to maybe play in an Olympics myself. So they were the players and team that really were the inspiration to all of us to be able to watch them."
Bob Suter's son Ryan played for the United States in the past two winter Olympics, the US losing a heartbreaking gold medal game to Canada in Vancouver in 2010. And while his dad passed away in 2014, Ryan says 1980's United States Olympic gold will never be forgotten.
Ryan Suter says, "When my Dad was around, up in Vancouver before the gold medal game, I remember going out to dinner with him and he was just like, 'just win please, so they can stop talking about us' and they can move on but I don't think it will ever stop. That '80 team was pretty special, I obviously wasn't around but it was a special moment for our country."