Picks and Pans Review: Bud Greenspan's Favorite Stories of Olympic Glory

updated 08/21/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/21/2000 01:00AM

Showtime (Sunday, Aug. 20, 10 p.m. ET)

On the eve of the Sydney Games, Greenspan, 73, the prolific Olympics documentarian, regales us (via narrator Will Lyman and the words and footage of the athletes themselves) with a breezy 90-minute tribute to heroes from Games past. Few would quarrel with the inclusion of Nadia Comaneci, the petite 14-year-old Romanian wunderkind who scored an unprecedented seven perfect 10s in gymnastics at the 1976 Montreal Games. Or Abebe Bikila, the late, great Ethiopian marathoner, who won the grueling event twice in a row (in '60 and '64) but went barefoot only the first time. On the other hand, U.S. decathlete Dan O'Brien's quest for gold in Atlanta in '96 strikes me as more perspirational than inspirational, and Australian swimmer Duncan Armstrong's '88 upset in the 200 meters freestyle is hilariously upstaged by his coach Laurie Lawrence, who is so jubilant he slaps the poor guy interviewing him. Finally, there's the amazing Alexander Karelin, a Russian heavyweight wrestler who can hoist his opponents into the air and slam 'em into the mat. The big lug has a future on WWF Smackdown!

Bottom Line: Scores an earnest 8

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