Picks and Pans Review: 100 Years of Olympic Glory
Courage is the theme of this engrossing special on the history of the modern Olympic Games, from the beginnings in Athens in 1896 to the centennial in Atlanta this summer. Writer-producer Bud Greenspan is fascinated by the heroic endurance of athletes who surmount pain in order to compete. We see not only great gold medalists such as sprinters and long jumpers Jesse Owens and Carl Lewis, and distance runner Paavo Nurmi, the Flying Finn, but also John Stephen Akhwari, the Tanzanian runner who completed the 1968 marathon with a broken foot. I felt a bit limp myself after three hours of legendary sportsmanship but was relieved to see that even Olympians are mortal: Soviet gymnast Lyudmila Turishcheva, who is as prissy and dowdy as she was in 1972, is still annoyed with her dazzling teammate Olga Korbut.