Six American diplomats, who had evaded capture during the seizure of the US embassy, successfully board a Swissair flight to Zurich and escape from Iran. Popularly called the “Canadian Caper”, this was a covert operation by the Canadian government and the CIA, in which the diplomats and agents pretended to be part of a fake film crew scouting locations for a science fiction movie called Argo.
Rubik’s Cube makes its debut at international toy fairs in London, Paris, Nuremberg and New York. It’s a hit.
Feb 13 – 24
Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York
– One of the most thrilling moments include the “Miracle on Ice” when a team of U.S. amateur ice hockey players defeated the vaunted Soviet Union professional all-star team in the semi-final game, then won the gold medal over Finland.
– U.S. speed skater Eric Heiden also concluded one of the most amazing feats in sports history when he won all five speed skating medals from the sprint at 500 meters to the marathon 10,000 meter event. (America’s Best History)
Mt. St. Helens begins venting steam, becoming active for the first time in 123 years. This event occurs after the mountain experienced a 4.2 magnitude earthquake on the 20th. By the end of April, the north side of the mountain has begun to bulge.
Mount St. Helens erupts. It is the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in US history, killing 57 people and destroying 250 homes. Also destroyed are 47 bridges, 15 miles of railways, and 185 miles of highway.
Post-It Notes debuts in US stores.
At the request of President Carter, the US Olympic Committee votes to boycott the Moscow Summer Olympics. This due to the Soviet Union’s continued involvement in Afghanistan.
April 24 & 25
Operation Eagle Claw, an attempt to rescue American hostages who had been captured in the US Embassy in Iran, is aborted because three of the eight helicopters sent in have been damaged. As they leave, a helicopter crashes into a transport aircraft, killing eight US servicemen and wounding five. Many believe that a failure to free the hostages cost Carter the re-election.
The World Health Organization declares the global eradication of smallpox, “which was a most devastating disease sweeping in epidemic form through many countries since earliest time, leaving death, blindness and disfigurement in its wake”.
Pac-Man arcade game is first released in Japan by Namco. Released in the US in October, Pac-Man quickly overtakes Asteroids as the most played arcade game in North America, grossing over one billion dollars (in quarters!) within a decade.
The Cable News Network (CNN) launches at 5pm EST, becoming the first 24-hour news channel (and first all-news channel in the US).
July 31 through August 11th
Hurricane Allen hits the Caribbean, eastern and northern Mexico and southern Texas, killing 270 people. The first hurricane of the 1980 Atlantic season, it is also one of the strongest hurricanes in recorded history. Allen is one of the few hurricanes to reach Category 5 status and spent more time as a Category 5 than any other Atlantic hurricane. It is the second of only two hurricanes in the recorded history of the Atlantic basin to achieve sustained winds of 190 mph.
Iran-Iraq war begins. Known as the First Persian Gulf War, it lasts from September 1980 to August of 1988.
Bob Marley performs his last concert this night, at the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He will succumb to cancer eight months later, at the age of 36.
Ronald Reagan wins election to the US Presidency in a landslide victory over Jimmy Carter, with 489 to 49 votes in the Electoral College and an 8 million vote margin in the popular vote.
Voyager 1 space probe reaches its closest approach to Saturn, coming within 77,000 miles of Saturn’s cloud-tops. Its cameras capture the first high-resolution pictures of Saturn, detecting complex structures in Saturn’s rings.
An estimated 83 million people tune in to find out who shot J.R. on CBS’s prime-time soap, Dallas. It becomes the highest rated television episode in US history, and is only second now to the final episode of M*A*S*H.
John Lennon is shot and killed outside his home by Mark Chapman.
So there’s a little history from 1980!
Do you remember any of that?