As I’ve said, these Greenspan films live and die based on how much drama there actually was at the games. This time there was enough to keep it compelling.

australia, 2001, english


Sydney 2000: Stories of Olympic Glory

The seesaw swings ever onwards, and we’re back on the upswing of these Greenspan documentaries. This isn’t a great film by any means, and it’s not even close to a great Olympics documentary, but at least it’s leagues ahead of Nagano.

This has all the hallmarks of the Greenspan formula that I’ve complained about too many times now to bother rehashing it all again. This one does add one new unpleasant wrinkle, or maybe this is just the first time I’ve noticed it.

I used to complain regularly about the nationalism of these films, but at least the nation in question was whichever one was hosting the actual games. The line between pride and xenophobia can be a fine one. This documentary manages to be nationalistic for the USA though, which really just feels like adding insult to injury.

I still really don’t enjoy the focus on winning, or the shallow attempts at getting to know the athletes. What saves this entry is a surprisingly unique take on one of the nights of Track & Field events. The film follows a bunch of events all happening simultaneously, and does a really interesting job of intermixing them together. It at least tries to recreate the larger spectacle of being at the games.

It’s really just such a shame that the IOC kept giving the official film to the same person. I continue to look forward to the end of this run.