30 for 30 Docos Part 4

Posted: July 25, 2014 in Sport

Slaying the Badger

Before Lance Armstrong, there was Greg LeMond, who is now the first and only American to win the Tour de France. In this engrossing documentary, LeMond looks back at the pivotal 1986 Tour, and his increasingly vicious rivalry with friend, teammate and mentor Bernard Hinault. The reigning Tour champion and brutal competitor known as “The Badger,” Hinault “promised” to help LeMond to his first victory, in return for LeMond supporting him in the previous year. But in a sport that purports to reward teamwork, it’s really every man for himself.

Sadly I thought this was the sequel to one of my favorite movies “Stroking the Beaver” but alas it was about cyclists. Once over my initial disappointment I was indeed engrossed as demanded and it is of course topical as La Tour de Frog is currently on. It gave a great insight into the team dynamics in this most odd of sports and of course another reason to hate the French – as if needed. LeMond comes across as the quintessential clean cut boy which he may well be but hard to imagine he rose to the heights he did without some partaking in a little skullduggery . The Badger at least agreed to be interviewed and is convincing in his own way where as the coach comes across as a prize twat. It did not make me want to sit down and watch this years race at all – not when I can get my cycling fill watching the Velodrome in Glasgow where we regularly win – but it was well worth the 90 minutes for an insiders look at the sport and the pre One Ball Armstrong era which forever tainted the sport.

The Price of Gold

The world couldn’t keep its eyes off two athletes at the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer – Nancy Kerrigan, the elegant brunette from the Northeast and Tonya Harding, the feisty blonde engulfed in scandal. Just weeks before the Olympics on Jan. 6, 1994 at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Kerrigan was stunningly clubbed on the right knee by an unknown assailant and left wailing, “Why, why, why?” As the bizarre “why” mystery unraveled, it was revealed that Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, had plotted the attack with his misfit friends to literally eliminate Kerrigan from the competition. Now two decades later, “The Price of Gold” takes a fresh look through Harding’s turbulent career and life at the spectacle that elevated the popularity of professional figure skating and has Harding still facing questions over what she knew and when she knew it.

Trailer trash V Beauty Queen. Harding comes across as a very interesting if somewhat shady character who had a tough life and always had to fight hard for everything she got but couldnt escape the impact of shady characters she hung around with and on occasion married. Her pleas of innocence do not ring true but certainly she aint the sharpest skate on the ice so ignorance may have played some part. Kerrigan did not participate in the story which is unfortunate but then she appears to be very much the manufactured “star”. Ice skating does at least make cycling look mildly interesting so did have that going for it and while enjoyable in a Jerry Springer way it does scream “Only in America” – that is if you can hear it over Kerrigan screaming herself.

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