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Durban Sandshark

ESPN 30 for 30

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Marion Jones is the subject of an upcoming ESPN 30 for 30 documentary entitled "Marion Jones: Press Pause" centering on her apparently successful track career, her 2007 drug admission in the federal courts, and her subsequent prison sentence, all of which we covered here on these boards. ESPN is set to premiere it on Tuesday, November 2.

Another planned 30 for 30 doc, which according to Wikipedia may actually come outside the 30 for 30 series, is "Right To Play", the story of Norwegian speed skating legend Johan Olav Koss and his international youth sports organization Right To Play that he founded. No word on when that will see airtime.

These are the only Olympic-themed 30 for 30 programs on the docket.

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I must admit after watching the Marion Jones 30 For 30 doc that it was definitely THE weakest one of the 30-film lot. Nothing really remarkable except for William C. Rhodes, but he couldn't salvage it by himself. John Singleton blundered in this one, seemingly pining for her and no tough questions. An intriguing story squandered with her apparently apologizing only because she was caught by investigators and associating with unsavory people, not the doping itself. What's sad was that she was immensely talented without the steroids. Its legacy will be how the burden of proof falls on the current and future generations of track and field athletes. That would make an interesting angle.

As for Johan Olav Koss and his Right To Play doc for ESPN 30 For 30, I couldn't find any updates about it yet. It's still in production. No date has been set for its premiere airdate. Given what's coming up from the extended set about the Fab Five Michigan Wolverines (already aired on Selection Sunday), Steve Bartman and other scapegoats, and Renee Richards, and Charismatic, and how they're spread out from each other in terms of airing, it looks as though Koss will make an appearance slated for next year, likely in time for the London Olympics since Koss is an Olympic legend and Right To Play has plenty of Olympians, both winter and summer ones, supporting the cause as they all travel the world. Frank Marshall directs this one hour film on Koss' journey to become one of the greatest sports ambassadors ever with a great nonprofit organization that he founded.

Another 30 For 30 that involves the Olympics is Once Brothers about the brilliant Yugoslavian basketball teams from the late 80s-early 90s with great players, centering on the friendship between late great Croatian Drazen Petrovic and Serb Vlade Divac, and how the Yugoslavian civil war, its breakup, and nationalism tore the two (and their teammates like Toni Kukoc, Zarko Paspalj, and Dino Radja) apart. Only for it to never have true reconciliation because of Petrovic's fatal car crash in 1993. Definitely worth checking out. Does talk briefly about the Seoul Olympics as a team on the rise before falling to the Soviet Union.

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Yes but I must say, you know at the end where she is practicing in the basketball gym. I've played a basketball game 2 years ago in that gym!

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Yes but I must say, you know at the end where she is practicing in the basketball gym. I've played a basketball game 2 years ago in that gym!

Which is funny now that Marion Jones just got cut by the Tulsa Shock to make way for Hakeem Olajuwon's daughter.

http://espn.go.com/wnba/story/_/id/6791005/tulsa-shock-cut-marion-jones-former-olympic-gold-medal-sprinter

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So she went from a sport nobody in America watches to well....a sport in America nobody watches and is cut from that sport.

It's the end of her sporting career, IMO.

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I'm back on this. Some very interesting developments with the Olympics and those ESPN docs have happened. First off, these here must NOT be officially called ESPN 30 For 30 since they're not really a part of that 30-doc roster. But they are a continuation of that. They're part of the ESPN Films Presents, though on the DVD set it's called 30 For 30 Vol. II.

It snuck up on us this past June and didn't even know about it until now. But the Frank Marshall-directed Right To Play documentary starring Johan Olav Koss on his unique charity of using sports to war-torn nations premiered on ESPN on June 2, though I did expect it to air on the eve of the London Olympics. Should've made not of it. Nice little morsel of the doc here.

Coming October 9 is the film 9.79* that deals with the controversial sham that was the men's 100m final in Seoul and the subsequent scandal that saw Canada's Ben Johnson win over defending champion Carl Lewis and then of course later stripped of his gold for testing positive for steroids 48 hours later. But it would not be about just, as we would expect, Lewis and Johnson. Lewis knew Johnson was "dirty" but didn't speak up about it and start a war of worlds. Maybe he should've looking back. It will deal with the other six sprinters involved in the race--including future 1992 gold medalist Lindford Christie, Dennis Mitchell, Desai Williams, Raymond Stewart, Robson Da Silva, and Calvin Smith--and how all reached to that point and what has happened to all eight of them since that still-haunting run with that scandal. The title is a reference to the WR that set back then by Johnson and later stripped and of the incredible call by the late NBC sportscaster Charlie Jones live on that race. As if we need another reminder of it...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXP8cSa1xmU

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9.79* is making its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival next month on September 8. This is a British production directed by Daniel Gordon not one produced by ESPN. I would also be very interested in, not to mention the immense embarassment and anger Ben Johnson's positive testing provoked Canada, how it impacted and unfairly branded Black Canadians with West Indian background. Like, for example, Canadian sprinters Donovan Bailey, Glenroy Gilbert, Bruny Surin, and Robert Esemie years later when the stigma clouded them before shutting up the doubters in Atlanta 8 years later. I remember reading in the 1996 Sports Illustrated Olympic issue in an article profiling them about how the Ben Johnson legacy made them feel like un-Canadian and reduced them in the media to Caribbean like Jamaican (or in the case of Surin, Haitian)

http://tiff.net/film.../tiff/2012/9.79

And now the 9.79* trailer

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British filmmaker Daniel Gordon talks about 9.79* and how it came out of his previous work on the two Koreas. Interesting that the BBC plans to air a shorter version of the doc than what ESPN will. Furthermore, Gordon couldn't get the American Andre Jackson who spiked Johnson's drink. I wonder why Lindford Christie was so reluctant to get into this. Does it make Ben Johnson a sympathetic anti-hero (like the linked review claims), since Gordon aims not to be judgemental? I'll wait until I see the movie.

http://www.theteam12....aspx?id=346499

9.79*'s Facebook page

And you know what's scary and interesting? 9.79 would still be good enough for bronze in London! Wow!

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British filmmaker Daniel Gordon talks about 9.79* and how it came out of his previous work on the two Koreas. Interesting that the BBC plans to air a shorter version of the doc than what ESPN will. Furthermore, Gordon couldn't get the American Andre Jackson who spiked Johnson's drink. I wonder why Lindford Christie was so reluctant to get into this. Does it make Ben Johnson a sympathetic anti-hero (like the linked review claims), since Gordon aims not to be judgemental? I'll wait until I see the movie.

http://www.theteam12....aspx?id=346499

9.79*'s Facebook page

And you know what's scary and interesting? 9.79 would still be good enough for bronze in London! Wow!

Looking forward to seeing 9.79*. Its great that they have interviewed all those who were in that Olympic Final.

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Looking forward to 9.79* too, Michael. However, we can expect when it comes to air on ESPN it will have a completely different promo that will feature Michael Smith's now-trademark "What if I told you..." to begin things.

When I was surfing on YouTube in related videos, I discovered there's going to be another Olympic-themed ESPN 30 For 30 Vol. 2 based on the footage used to promote its slate including 9.79*. Apparently, it's going to center on--wait for it!--Nancy and Tonya! Nice music M38!

Speaking of "What if I told you...", this is the promo for ESPN Films 30 For 30 Volume 2 at least the ones already known. There's footage from 9.79* on it here, but it's not from Seoul but from the 1987 IAAF World Track and Field Championships in Rome, where Ben Johnson famously broke the WR and won over Carl Lewis.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2x9IMEHvfh0

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Very much agree here.

Also agree with that.

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That's largely due to her age.

Anyway, 9.79* premieres tonight on ESPN here in the US. I think it's airing right now as I write this.

ESPN's TV spot for 9.79* as part of its 30 For 30. Notice it does not use any footage at all from the actual Seoul Olympic race in it for the TV spot like the film trailer does. That's from the 1987 IAAF World Track and Field Championships in Rome.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t37UlQFpqxI

Director Daniel Gordon talks to ESPN 30 For 30 on how he came about to film 9.79*, and how he looks back on the infamous race.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqff-yItmJ0

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9.79* makes its Canadian TV premiere Thursday and, because this involves something Canadian, starts the new season there when ESPN imports its 30 For 30 Volume 2 at 7:30 pm CT on TSN! With 9.79*, the 30 For 30 series on TSN will air every Thursday night at that time slot from October to December. Haven't found any TSN promos on that unless they're similar. Funny, if that's the case, it could use the Olympic footage since TSN had broadcasted portions of the Canadian Olympic TV coverage since Calgary 1988.

It's not surprising to see how ESPN's TV promo for it places, understandably, the focus and structure on the two most notable figures from that infamous race--Ben Johnson and Carl Lewis. Never mind publicly acknowledging on it the other six sprinters--Dennis Mitchell, Lindford Christie, Desai Williams, Robson Da Silva, and Raymond Stewart--all of which this is also about. I think a few Americans and not just those who seriously follow track and field would know about Dennis Mitchell and Lindford Christie, who were stars during this era. Surely, when the BBC airs 9.79*, Christie would be shown in the promos there.

There's an Olympic-related ESPN 30 For 30 story I would like to see made into a film. How about something involving the 1980 Moscow Olympics, specifically dealing with the US Olympic Team (maybe involve the Canadian counterparts too) that wasn't there due to politics. Take an inspiration from the book Boycott and make a special focus on those US Olympians who never got another shot at the Olympics for whatever reason along with those who continued their greatness (Greg Louganis, Edwin Moses, and Evelyn Ashford) since. How they've dealt and coped with being pawns (or collateral damage) in the Cold War after training, preparing, and sacrificing their whole lives for? How do they look back on that (in various emotions, I'm sure)? How are they remembered? Also, we could also take a look at how NBC took a hit and coped with the boycott by not televising them save for daily highlights in what would've been its first Summer Olympics TV broadcast since Tokyo 1964.

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We now got the entire 9.79* documentary, albeit in parts, that I can upload for you to watch. Would've liked to have it in its entirety. For this and the next several posts, it's the first two parts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLghv3Qozhw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-GvGFNp2oU

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Parts 3 and 4. This must've been recorded digitally and later uploaded on YouTube either upon its ESPN premiere or as a rerun. Judging from the cameras and film used in this, sure looks very much confirms (for the interviews here at least) a European-based doc, British in this case, as opposed to what ESPN Film would normally produce.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huAh__omw7o

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odA1_2tjuDo

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As an added bonus to the now-since-pulled parts 9.79* documentary, I will now present to you the sham medal ceremony and subsequent interview from the sham race that features a phone call from PM Brian Mulroney from the CBC--for one thing, he would not race in the relays. Strange that O Canada was played briefly when it hits the climax and not in full. They did not know what embarassment was in store because of this.

Oh now, it's actually back in full...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Skg3-eoxq4

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Now 9.79* is off again as you see.

Just recently ESPN did a 30 For 30 short on a vote by all the members of the 1972 US men's Olympic basketball team, who were controversially robbed of a gold medal in Munich to the Soviets and declined to accept the silver medals, whether to accept them. All 12 members reunite for the first together since that fateful moment in Lexington, Kentucky to vote on that in a 12 Angry Men jury style. Honestly, I haven't seen this yet but will soon.

http://espn.go.com/30for30/film?page=silver-reunion

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ESPN W has its own batch of women's sports stories that are coming starting tomorrow and on through the summer that are inspired by Title IX called Nine For IX, feature docs and short films dealing with the issues, trends, and personalities in women's sports since the rise of Title IX and its 40th anniversary. Nine feature length documentaries are coming this summer that will be shown on ESPN. As an Olympics website, the ones involving Olympians--and there are several here--are in order of premiere dates:

Venus VS.--July 2. The 4x Olympic gold medalist's doc focuses on the greatest off court battle: equal earning pay for women's tennis players on par with the men

Pat XO--July 9. This one reflects on the extraordinary career of the former Tennessee women's basketball and the 1984 US Olympic women's basketball team coach reflecting on that and her new life battling Alzheimer's

Swoopes--July 20. She was famously dubbed the female Michael Jordan with her incredible skills and accomplishments that can rival his. The 3x gold medalist also discusses her decision to come out as a lesbian

The Diplomat--August 6. As one of East Germany's most prolific athletes and really one of the best things from there at the time, the beautiful Katarina Witt fought for her right to preserve her future from constant Stasi surveillance under the GDR's state sports system and coping with her greatest challenges following the fall of the Berlin Wall

The Runner--August 13. Mary Decker, one of the greatest American middle distance runners, set many records without having made the Olympics. But when her Olympic chance finally came in Los Angeles 1984, it all came crashing down and never really recovered

The 99ers--August 20. About the much-revered 1999 US World Cup winning women's soccer team that captured the hearts of the nations on the road to a memorable victory at the Rose Bowl against China that year. How they inspired a nation and changed the perception of women's sports in the US even with exclusive footage from the players

ESPN W's Nine For IX general trailer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAzVJ7KJefU

Back to 9.79*. Ben Johnson talking to CBC's Don Whitman live right after the infamous run and the subsequent medal ceremony--Ben's sporting the gold medal from the medal ceremony--and gets a congratulatory phone call from then-PM Brian Mulroney from Ottawa. Still on that high before the embarassing disgrace...

NBC's live immediate aftermath and the post-race analysis from the infamous Seoul 1988 men's 100m final and the medal ceremony with Charlie Jones, Dwight Stone, Bryant Gumbel, and Greg Foster. With isolated slo-mos of Carl and Ben from the race, Carl's mom Evelyn's reaction during the race, and the medal ceremony. What's interesting at the time was how the Seoul officials, instead of taking their time to reflect like in later Olympics, rushed the athletes off the track after a race with awkward confrontations (look at how they surround Calvin Smith and Dennis Mitchell expeditiously usher them when Dave struggled to get words from them edgewise at the beginning of the video). This was later eased during the Olympics. Back then, the preference was to get the athletes and even the anthems out of the way and in a hurry. As demonstrated by why O Canada was so short here, playing the third stanza.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDoCkY0_6y8

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