A perfectly serviceable entry. Nothing special but also eminently watchable. It’s fascinating to be moving into the era of Olympic games where I remember watching them live.

united states, 1997, english


Atlanta’s Olympic Glory

I believe I’ve mentioned before that there is some kind of natural time limit on how long I can wait between watching one of these films, and writing about it. Beyond that point, my thoughts about it begin to recede a little bit. Under ordinary life circumstances that has rarely been much of an issue, but we are clearly not living in a time of ordinary life circumstances.

Watching these films is one of the greatest means of therapy I’ve found for calming the thoughts in my mind. Now, more than perhaps ever, it is so completely useful and wonderful to have these escapes. On the other hand, my current reality makes it very difficult to find the time to do the kind of substantive thinking, and writing, that I aim to achieve. Still, I will continue to muddle through, getting as much written down as I can.

All of that is to say, that I watched this film a bit too long ago now to completely remember what I thought. That’s probably ok though, given that I didn’t have that much to say about it anyway. This is a perfectly serviceable made-for-television style Olympics documentary. It reveals the strengths and limitations of the Bud Greenspan formula almost perfectly. It’s pleasant, it features some nice moments, and some interesting information about the competitors of these games. On the other hand, there is nothing special about this, and it’s ceiling is very limited.

This entry, perhaps because it’s for the 100th anniversary games, actually does include a lot more non-athletic stuff, which is great, but it’s still overwhelmingly a “sports” documentary.

The one section that I do remember really enjoying is the weight lifting competition between Turkish lifter Naim Süleymanoğlu and Greek lifter Valerios Leonidis. The whole affair is dramatic, with multiple world records being set in quick succession. The format of a Greenspan documentary still telegraphs a bit too much what the outcome will be, but at least for this one event there was some real juice on the screen. Anyway, this is the last of the long runtime docs I have left, and I have to say I’ll miss them.

Especially because we’re being denied the Tokyo 2020 Olympics this summer, it’s nice to have these to turn to.