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Friday, August 12, 2016

Movies that Make You Appreciate the Olympics

With the Olympics in full swing in Rio, we gathered a few of our favorite Olympic films. The Olympics show the perseverance and strength of individuals who are dedicated and passionate about their sport. This is what makes the Olympics so intriguing to watch. One hears stories of how Olympians became a master of their sport and the sacrifices they made. One hears of the ups and downs of the journey. Not many people want to practice at 5 am, but so many Olympians do. That is what makes the Olympic movies so great. They show the work behind the perfect game—or how close loss was.

Chariots of Fire (1981)

The film focuses on two British runners who will compete in the 1924 Paris Olympics and their stories. While they try to make it to the top, their religion and class affect their fellow countrymen. The film shows how personal lives can get set aside in order to be crowned the best and how sports can help overcome political obstacles.

Stick It (2006)

While this film does not go to the Olympics, it reaches to Team USA. Haley Graham (Missy Peregrym) must return to the catty world of gymnastics. The film focuses on an elite gym where some of the U.S.’s best gymnasts train. The film reminds the audience of the work and the drama that it takes to reach the top. 

 Personal Best (1982)

Runner Chris Cahill (Mariel Hemmingway) wants to reach her full potential, but romance complicates her goals when she falls for fellow runner Tory Skinner (Patrice Donnelly). Athletes need motivation, and it can be hard to find someone who gets the pressures of always having to be the best. The film explores the love lives of elite athletes and the sacrifices they make to be number one.

Without Limits (1998)
Another runner film makes the cut features the true story of Olympian Steve Prefontaine (Billy Crudup) and his work with Coach Billy Bowerman (Donald Sutherland). The film follows him from the 1974 Munich Games to his early death at age 24. While the ending may be sad, the story remains heartwarming.

Prefontaine (1997)
This film also focuses on runner Steve Profontaine, starring Jared Leto and follows a similar plotline to Without Limits. Though both movies have similar plotlines, they take different approaches. Either way, you may find yourself wanting to run the distance.

Breaking Away (1979)
The Italian cycling team fascinates recent high school graduate Dave (Dennis Christopher) so much so that he pretends to be Italian. However, he is really from Bloomington, Indiana—a town divided by those who built the university and those who attend the university. Dave, along with his best friends Mike (Denis Quaid) and Cyril (Daniel Stern) attempt to navigate their reality, without really wanting to accept it.

Tokyo Olympiad (1965)
This critically acclaimed film focuses on the emotion behind the numbers through cinematography. Instead of zooming in on one runner, Ichikawa shows all the runners at the start and follows the winner. The documentary is three hours long, but critics and audiences found the documentary worthwhile. 

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