3 Timely Sports Documentaries Of The Week

Eugene Fogarty
By Eugene Fogarty
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1. Once Brothers (2010)

This week's choices are all relevant to the past week. Last Friday's bad tempered World Cup qualifier between Croatia and Serbia sparked memories of the 30 for 30 documentary Once Brothers.

It tells the story of two Yugoslav basketball players who moved to the NBA in 1989, Vlade Divac with the Lakers and Dražen Petrovic with Portland Trail Blazers. They were close friends from their years as teammates back in Yugoslavia and for the national team, and served as each others personal support during their early years in the US, particular Petrovic who struggled to settle in Oregon.

During an 1990 international tournament in Argentina, the Serbian Divac tried to prevent fans from bringing a Coatian flag onto the court. The Lakers star believed, as players, they were representing Yugoslavia, not Croatia, Bosnia or even Serbia. However, the incident gained momentum at home at a time when nationalistic fervour was in full flow. Ultimately it would be the spark that drove both NBA stars apart.

The documentary details the relationship between the players, the incident with the flag, the division that forced them apart and ultimately Divac's return to Croatia to visit Petrovic's family. Walking the streets of the Balkan nation, it is evident how much he is disliked there.

Divac went on to have an extremely successful career in the US, but Petrovic died in 1993 in a car crash just as his NBA career was really taking off with the then New Jersey Nets.

Incidentally, Croatian tennis hero Goran Ivanisevic referenced his good friend in his victory speech at Wimbledon in 2001, and there is a statue built in his honour in Zagreb outside their basketball museum.



2. One Day In September (1999)


Last Friday was also the anniversary of the terrorist attacks in Munich during the 1972 Olympic Games, and One Day In September is considered the defining account of the incident, as well as one of the greatest sports documentaries ever produced.

During the '72 Games, eight Palestinian terrorists invaded the Olympic Village in order to take the Israeli team hostage, which ultimately resulted in the violent deaths of eleven athletes on September 5th of that year.


The documentary mixes newsreel coverage of the tragedy with interviews with witnesses and participants including Jamil Al Gashey, the only surviving member of Black September, the terrorist group who were responsible for the killings.

Producer Arthur Cohn even earned an academy award for Best Documentary Feature.

The first part of four is below but the rest can be easily found on youtube.


3. Five Ring Circus (2007)

Tokyo were awarded the 2020 Summer Olympic Games on Sunday, and reaction in Japan was overwhelmingly positive, but that was not the case in Vancouver after they won the privilege to host the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.


With three years to go before the opening ceremonies, this documentary looks at the impact of the 2010 winter games on Vancouver. While many residents are excited about it, others are resisting the changes happening in their communities, be it economically, socially or environmentally and ultimately they begin to question the cost of hosting the Olympic games.

Everybody loves the Olympic Games but the extra cost and environmental and social damage that they can cause, particularly to such a natural part of the world like British Columbia, is made starkly evident throughout, and even makes you begin to question the value of hosting such an enormous sporting event.

Once again, this documentary has been delivered to us by Youtube in parts, this time eight.


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