Nadia Comaneci was a "10" four years before Bo Derek came along and her exploits sent thousands of little girls in leotards racing to the nearest gym to sign up for lessons.
Whether the American Olympic ice hockey victory will have a similar impact is doubtful, partly because of cost factors and partly because of timing. Even if a patriotic pop is willing to buy those $100-plus Bauers tomorrow, he will probably find that Junior must wait until the fall to take his first shaky step toward a gold medal. In many areas of the country, lack of rinks makes the subject moot.
There is no doubt, however, that the prestige of American college hockey has received a tremendous boost. Pro teams who concentrated their scouting efforts on Canadian junior clubs will be taking a closer look at the colleges. If the sport is doubly lucky, the pros will also copy some of the more exciting aspects of the Olympic experience and leave the clutching and grabbing to patrons of dirve-in movies.
"This is a great boost to college hockey," said Bill Cleary, coach at Harvard and a member of the 1960 gold-medal American team. "All those kids are college hockey products and most of them would have played for the colleges this winter if they hadn't taken the time off. This will let people know about the caliber of college hockey."
Cleary basked in the adulation of a pleased public in 1960, although there was non Afghanistan crisis to inflame American attitudes. He regrets only that there was no big step forward, building on the success at Squaw Valley.
"We had fire-engine parades and everything else, and people still talk about it," Cleary said. "But the general public was not aware of how good the Russians were then, although we were. Now the Russians are beating the pros and people know what this victory means.
"It's a shame we can't make our rinks bigger, because it would take away a lot of the intimidation. You can't kill people unless you can catch them. Our goal should be to play the international way, because people do appreciate it."
John MacInnes of Michigan Tech became college hockey's winningest coach Friday when his Huskies presented him with victory No. 502 at Denver.Yesterday, he was in a Minnesota hospital undergoing exploratory surgery for a kidney problem, but it did not diminish his enthusiasm over the U.S. triumph.
"It's super for hockey, super for the United Staes and especially super for college hockey," MacInnes said. "Here a group of WCHA students (14 of the 20 U.S. players came from Western Collegiate Hockey Association schools) under a WCHA coach can do something the NHL couldn't do (beat the Soviets).
"I don't feel pro hockey has progressed. In college hockey we experiment, we're more open-minded. Herbie Brooks is a prime example. He's seen things in Europe and used them with his players, and accomplished a lot.
"The 1960 victory gave a big boost to hockey and many areas of the country became aware of hockey as a game. It'sstill a regional game, though, and it hasn't expanded that much. Cost is a factor in that area, of course."
Frank Martin, one of the architects of the fine youth program in Fairfax, feels the spiraling cost of both ice time and equipment will inhibit potential growth derived from the Olympic experience.
"There is a lot of enthusiasm now, but I think it will die off," Martin said." A man called me today, whose kid played in Germany three years ago and the kid wanted to play today. Our season is just ending, so I told him about our summer program, but I'm afraid by summer the exuberance will have worn off.
"One of the primary causes of kids not playing is cost, particularly buying ice, and I do visualize costs going up. What youth hockey needs in this area is a sugar daddy to buy the ice time. It is an exciting sport, but it's expensive."
Charlie Holt, the coach at the University of New Hampshire, hopes that the enthusiasm of the players will be carried on to other levels of hockey, if nothing else.
"I'm on Cloud 9 and I'm just an observer," Holt said. "I've loved hockey all my life and I've got a very strange feeling now. You have to love hockey at that level played with the enthusiasm that kids play it.
"And yet there are people who say hockey like that would bore people to death in the NHL. Who are they kidding? I'm hoping the Olympics help put hockey in the right direction with that movement of the puck, that up-and-down action yet with possession of the puck a primary concern, not just dumping it in and giving it away."
Marshall Johnston, a former Canadia Olympian and NHL defenseman who coaches the University of Denver, watched the Washington Capitals and Colorado Rockies Sunday and he said he could already see signs of a revolution in the pro sport.
"We've been reading about changes occuring as a result of the Soviets' style of play, but in some areas I haven't seen as much application as we would like," Johnston siad. "Obviously, the smaller arena is not as conducive to a skill game as the international surface.
"The Caps kept the puck in motion, though, and they emphasized possession of the puck as opposed to dumping it in.That in itself is a degree of change."