It had been 28 years since the Winter Olympics were staged in the United States. The host nation had been gradually building towards an Olympic gold by bringing good teams to the recent World Championships and were quite open about their goal of winning at home in 1960.
Five players on the team had won silver medals in 1956, and 10 had had previous experience at the World Championships. Behind the outstanding goaltending of Jack McCartan, the Americans beat the Soviets 3-2 and the Canadians 2-1. McCartan blocked 39 shots against Canada, including 20 in the second period.
The Americans victory over the USSR marked the first time a U.S. team had ever defeated the Soviets. The United States clinched the gold by humbling Czechoslovakia 9-4 on the final day. In that game, the Americans fell behind 4-3 after two periods but rallied to win with six unanswered goals in the third.
The Soviets settled for the bronze medal, their lowest finish in a major competition since their debut on the world stage in 1954.