Original Air Dateâ€”14 September 2010
The first time Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova stepped onto a tennis court together, the world scarcely noticed. Only a few hundred spectators saw the pert 18-year-old beat the scrappy 16-year-old Czech in 1973. "I remember that she was fat," Evert recalled. "She was very emotional on the court, whining if she didn't feel she was playing well. But I remember thinking, if she loses weight, we're all in trouble." Said Navratilova, "My goal was for her to remember my name." Eighty matches later - amid the extraordinary growth of women's tennis - Evert not only remembered, but became a tried and true friend and confidante, remarkable considering the two appeared to be polar opposites in upbringing, life styles and personal relationships. Through a series of personal conversations, filmmakers Nancy Stern Winters and Lisa Lax, along with producer Hannah Storm, will tell the story of one of the greatest one-on-one sports rivalries and capture these two extraordinary athletes' views on tennis and an ever-changing world.
22: The House of Steinbrenner
Original Air Dateâ€”21 September 2010
Love him or hate him, there is no denying that George Steinbrenner has been one of the most colorful and successful owners in contemporary sports. Heading up a group that bought the New York Yankees in 1973 for $10 million, "King George" emphatically branded the world's most celebrated sports franchise as his own. The Boss has boasted 10 pennants, 6 World Series trophies and a corporate net worth more than $1 billion. But for all the glory and riches, the Steinbrenner legacy is also mixed with wasteful and embarrassing spending and countless episodes of tabloid-style soap. Now with George's health seriously failing, the Steinbrenner heirs are finally beginning to emerge from their father's larger-than-life shadow as they collectively move his franchise into a new home and a new era.
23: Into the Wind
Original Air Dateâ€”28 September 2010
In 1980, Terry Fox continued to fight bone cancer and deep despair in pursuit of a singular, motivating vision-to run across Canada. Three years after having his right leg amputated six inches above the knee, Fox set out to cover more than a marathon's distance each day until he reached the shores of Victoria, British Columbia, spreading awareness and raising funds for cancer research. Anonymous at the start of his journey, Fox steadily captured the heart of a nation with his marathon of hope. After 143 days and two-thirds of the way across Canada, with the eyes of a country watching, Fox's journey came to an abrupt end when newly discovered tumors took over his body. Two-time NBA MVP, proud Canadian, and first-time filmmaker, Steve Nash, will share Fox's incredible story of perseverance and hope.
24: Four Days in October
Original Air Dateâ€”5 October 2010
When the night of October 16, 2004 came to a merciful end, the Curse of the Bambino was alive and well. The vaunted Yankee lineup, led by A-Rod, Jeter, and Sheffield, had just extended their ALCS lead to three games to none, pounding out 19 runs against their hated rivals. The next night, in Game 4, the Yankees took a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning, then turned the game over to Mariano Rivera, the best relief pitcher in post-season history, to secure yet another trip to the World Series. But after a walk and a hard-fought stolen base, the cold October winds of change began to blow. Over four consecutive days and nights, this unlikely group of Red Sox miraculously won four straight games to overcome the inevitability of their destiny. Using extensive archive coverage from that week, Major League Baseball Productions will produce a film in "real-time" that takes an in-depth look at the 96 hours that brought salvation to Red Sox Nation and made baseball history in the process.
25: Once Brothers
Original Air Dateâ€”12 October 2010
Drazen Petrovic and Vlade Divac were two friends who grew up together sharing the common bond of basketball. Together, they lifted the Yugoslavian National team to unimaginable heights. After conquering Europe, they both went to America where they became the first two foreign players to attain NBA stardom. But with the fall of the Soviet Union on Christmas Day 1991, Yugoslavia split up. A war broke out between Petrovic's Croatia and Divac's Serbia. Long buried ethnic tensions surfaced. And these two men, once brothers, were now on opposite sides of a deadly civil war. As Petrovic and Divac continued to face each other on the basketball courts of the NBA, no words passed between the two. Then, on the fateful night of June 7, 1993, Drazen Petrovic was killed in an auto accident. "Once Brothers" will tell the gripping tale of these two men, how circumstances beyond their control tore apart their friendship, and whether Divac has ever come to terms with the death of a friend before they had a chance to reconcile.
26: Tim Richmond: To the Limit
Original Air Dateâ€”19 October 2010
The life of NASCAR driver Tim Richmond and his 1989 death from AIDS.
27: Fernando Nation
Original Air Dateâ€”26 October 2010
The euphoria created by Fernando Valenzuela's 1981 arrival to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
28: Marion Jones: Press Pause
Original Air Dateâ€”2 November 2010
Few athletes in Olympic history have reached such heights and depths as Marion Jones. After starring at the University of North Carolina and winning gold at the 1997 and '99 World Track and Field Championships, her rise to the top culminated at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia. There she captivated the world with her beauty, style and athletic dominance, sprinting and jumping to three gold medals and two bronze. Eventually, though, her accomplishments and her reputation would be tarnished. For years, Jones denied the increasing speculation that she used performance-enhancing drugs. But in October 2007, she finally admitted what so many had long suspected - that she had indeed used steroids. Calling herself a liar and a cheat in a federal courtroom, Jones was sentenced to six months in prison for lying to federal investigators. She soon saw her Olympic achievements disqualified. Now a free woman, Jones is running in a new direction in life and taking time to reflect.
29: The Best That Never Was
Original Air Date: 9 November 2010
In 1981, college athletic recruiting changed forever as a dozen big-time football programs sat waiting for the decision by a physically powerful and lightning-quick high school running back named Marcus Dupree. Having already graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, Dupree attracted recruiters from schools in every major conference to his hometown of Philadelphia, Miss. More than a decade removed from being a flash point in the civil-rights struggle, Philadelphia was once again thrust back into the national spotlight. Dupree took the attention in stride, and committed to Oklahoma. What followed, though, was a forgettable college career littered with conflict, injury and over-sized expectations. Eight-time Emmy Award winner Jon Hock will examine why this star burned out so young and how he ultimately used football to redeem himself.
30: Pony Excess
Original Air Dateâ€”11 December 2010
From 1981-1984, a small private school in Dallas owned the best record in college football. The Mustangs of Southern Methodist University (SMU) were riding high on the backs of the vaunted "Pony Express" backfield. But as the middle of the decade approached, the program was coming apart at the seams. Wins became the only thing that mattered as the University increasingly ceded power of the football program to the city's oil barons and real estate tycoons and flagrant and frequent NCAA violations became the norm. On February 25, 1987, the school and the sport were rocked, as the NCAA meted out "the death penalty" on a college football program for the first and only time in its history. SMU would be without football for two years, and the fan base would be without an identity for 20 more until the Mustangs' win in the 2009 Hawaii Bowl. This is the story of Dallas in the 1980's and the greed, power, and corruption that spilled from the oil fields onto the football field and all the way to the Governor's Mansion. Director Thaddeus D. Matula, a product of the SMU film school, chronicles the rise, fall, and rebirth of this once mighty team.
Future documentaries in the series:
Original Air Dateâ€”2010
In June of 1999 an unlikely chestnut colt named Charismatic, with jockey Chris Antley aboard, headed down the stretch at the Belmont Stakes, just seconds away from becoming the first Triple Crown winner in nearly 21 years. Thoroughbred racing was desperate for this story of deliverance-track attendance was in steep decline, stars like Seattle Slew and Secretariat were distant memories, drug abuse and bulimia were becoming issues in the jockey colony, and America's love affair with the Sport of Kings was waning. Into this void stepped Charismatic and Antley, both thought to be lost causes. The racing community had such a low opinion of Charismatic that he had been entered into claiming races just months prior to the Triple Crown races. As for Antley, he was considered a washed-up, anorexic, former drug addict who should have stayed retired from racing. Together, they became the biggest long shots in 59 years to win the Kentucky Derby, and then followed that up with another underdog win at the Preakness. The two may have been denied their Hollywood ending, but their story of redemption lives on.
Right to Play
Original Air Dateâ€”2010
He has won four Olympic gold medals, graced the cover of Time magazine and been honored as Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated. Yet if you say the name Johann Olav Koss in this country, you'll usually be met with a casual shrug. Instead of cashing in on his Olympic haul, Koss embarked on a remarkable journey that has established him as one of the world's greatest ambassadors of sports. As the founder, President and CEO of Right To Play, Koss and his army of volunteers, teachers, coaches and diplomats have used the power of athletics to elevate the lives of the world's neediest children. As it turns out, Frank Marshall, one of Hollywood's most acclaimed producers and a member of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, witnessed Koss's triumphs on the ice in the 1994 Lillehammer Olympic Games. Now Marshall will reveal the epiphany that led Koss to start Right To Play, and attempt to uncover the motivation that drives him to crisscross the globe, establishing new programs and literally saving lives in the process. Some day, Johann may win a Nobel Peace Prize. But for now, this film will serve as an introduction to an uncommon and selfless man who embodies the power and glory of sport.
Steve Bartman: Catching Hell
Original Air Date - 2010
The relationship between Chicago Cubs fans and Steve Bartman following Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series.