16 Sports Documentaries You Need To See
I was never much in to documentaries in my school years, but around 10 years later I found a category that really spoke to me – Sports.
They are some of the most inspirational and interesting and stories you’ll ever watch, letting you get an inside look at the innermost thoughts and aspects of elite athletes lives at key moments in their careers. There’s something for everyone in this list and these are 16 films I think you just HAVE to see.
Pumping Iron (1977)
An obvious choice. Follow the worlds top bodybuilders, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franco Columbo, Mike Katz and the up & coming Lou Ferrigno on the road to compete in the 1975 Mr Olympia competition.
Formula 1 lost a legend the day Ayrton Senna was killed in a tragic crash racing in the San Marino Grand Prix in Italy. This documentary chronicles his racing career, the crash and how it affected not just the sport, but the world.
Run Ricky Run (2010)
This is one of my favourite ESPN films. Ricky Williams turned his back on fame and fortune with the Miami Dolphins to find himself through drugs, alternative medicine and spirituality through yoga. He maintains that if he could just get his head right he could be great. I think when you watch this you’ll see he’s already achieved greatness.
Bigger, Stronger, Faster (2008)
This is a truly awesome film that goes to the dark side of fitness taking a no holds barred look into performance enhancing drugs in professional and amateur sports.
Generation Iron (2013)
Quite often referred to as “The Modern Day Pumping Iron” this film follows the road to the 2012 Mr Olympia competition and the rivalry between the competitors but with a focus on the reigning champ, Phil Heath and his arch rival, Kai Greene.
The Armstrong Lie (2013)
An incredible look in to the doping scandals in professional cycling and Lance Armstrong’s experiences with his own doping scandal.
The Crash Reel (2013)
Fifteen years of footage showing the epic rivalry between half-pipe legends Shaun White and Kevin Pearce – childhood friends who become number one and two in the world leading up to the Vancouver Winter Olympics, pushing one another to ever more dangerous tricks, until Kevin crashes on a Park City half-pipe, barely surviving.
TT3D – Closer To The Edge (2011)
The Isle of Man is a truly insane course to race a bike on. Especially at speeds of 250km/h +. These guys have balls of steel and are willing to risk their lives for the love of speed.
First Love (2012)
This Rip Curl film follows 3 girls from Phillip Island, Australia, and their first steps towards pro surfing careers – A trip of a lifetime to prove themselves in Hawaii.
Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau (2013)
Eddie Would Go. This film, part of the ESPN 30 for 30 will tell you why he is a Hawaiian legend today.
Without Bias (2009)
June 17, 1986. Len Bias is second overall pick in the NBA draft and joins the Boston Celtics. 36 hours later he was dead. The cause: His heart stopped from a cocaine overdose in a university dorm.
The U (2009)
Follow the rise to prominence of the University Of Miami after years of indifferent results. New coach Howard Schnellenberger revitalised the Miami Universities football program by introducing fresh blood and fresh attitude into the team from the toughest ghettos in the state to become the bad boys of the competition.
Straight Outta L.A. (2009)
Directed by Ice Cube and with appearances by Snoop Dogg, this documentary explores the connection between the advent of Gangster Rap on the West Coast of America and the freshly relocated Oakland Raiders.
The Birth of Big Air (2010)
Matt Hoffman was different. He pushed harder, he went higher than anyone was willing to. He’s has broken almost every bone in his body at least once in his quest to take the sport of BMX to new heights.
Jordan Rides the Bus (2010)
In 1993 at the peak of his career, Michael Jordan retired from his career in the NBA to pursue a career in baseball. What drove him to make the decision? Arrogance? The murder of his father?
Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL? (2009)
Have you heard of the USFL? Neither had I until I saw this film. This documentary focuses on the rise and fall of the United States Football League from the point of view of Donald Trump (yep, he owned a team) and John Bassett.