Salt Lake City 2002: Bud Greenspan’s Stories of Olympic Glory

I’m just so over this format, and there was nothing compelling enough in this edition to change that. I’ve already forgotten most of what I saw.

It’s such an unfortunate and sad reality, that the IOC decided to keep awarding the title of Official Olympic Film to these made-for-tv specials.

The original 16 Days of Glory wasn’t my favorite Olympics doc, not by a long shot, but it had a vitality to it that was contagious. It also had a perspective that was unique. It showed a different approach for a sports doc than had been seen to that point. But that was a lot of films ago. At this point these are just cookie cutter repeats of that same tired formula.

The most frustrating part is how limited a look into each version of the games we’re getting. I do not have any larger sense of what happened in Salt Lake City at the XIX Olympics Winter Games.

All I have is a tiny handful of supposedly engaging stories. There is no ice skating for crying out loud! That alone should be some kind of Winter Olympics crime.

Especially during this era of the games, where new sports were being added left and right, to have such a small sample is infuriating. There are definitely problems with a maximalist approach, but this ultra minimalism is driving me crazy.

It maybe wouldn’t be so bad, except that it’s every edition of the games! I’ve written at length about it, but to miss out on the larger story of what each particular games will be remembered for. To miss out on the non-athletic pieces of the puzzle. To miss out on everything except a narrow focus on particular moments of achievement. It makes me sad, that’s all there is to it.

I have five remaining entries in this gargantuan and amazing set. Of those five, three are more Greenspan attempts at pathos and meaning, that I am absolutely positive will not deviate from this narrow path.

I really cannot wait for the other two that might.

united states, 2003, 1.33:1, english