Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Water Cooler: Finish strong with Olympic documentaries

The Olympics officially wrapped up this weekend, but if you still have the bug for watching amazing athletics, Kanopy has you covered. Spokane Public Library users have access to this streaming service for free. Visit to start streaming.

“Over the Limit” – An inside look into the grueling demands of competing at an Olympian level, both physically and mentally. This documentary follows a world renowned rhythmic gymnast, Margarita Mamun. She must overcome an inner battle on her way to becoming the 2016 Olympic All-around champion. Directed by Marta Prus. 2017. 78 minutes.

“Personal Gold: An Underdog Olympic Women’s Cycling Team Story” – In this exploration of the intersection between sports and science, four underdog women cyclists use analytics to emerge as silver medalists at the 2012 London Olympics. They were America’s hope to medal in cycling after the men’s team was banned due to Lance Armstrong’s drug scandal, and they delivered by winning the first U.S. Women’s Track Cycling medal in more than 20 years. Directed by Sky Christopherson and Tamara Christopherson. 2016. 90 minutes.

“Winning: Five Legendary Athletes Tell Their Stories’’ – Through candid interviews and exciting archival footage, the inspiring stories of tennis champion Martina Navratilova, golf great Jack Nicklaus, Olympic gymnast Nadia Comaneci, track and field star Edwin Moses and Dutch Paralympian Esther Vergeer. The athletes, and their families, coaches, agents and fellow competitors, offer testament to the challenges and triumphs faced on the way to athletic greatness.

“The 1936 Olympic Games: Nazi Secrets at the Berlin Olympics” – Combining footage from Leni Riefenstahl’s 1938 film “Olympia” with interviews with specialists and historians, this documentary offers a behind-the-scenes look at the secret negotiations made by the International Olympic Committee in order to bring the 1936 Olympic Games to Berlin during Hitler’s rule so the world would witness the display of Nazi propoganda. Directed by Laure Philippon. 2016. 53 minutes.

“Nerves of Steel” – A look into the thrilling sport of skeleton, a winter sliding sport where athletes slide head-first down a twisting frozen track on a small sled. Unlike other sliding sports such as luge and bobsleigh, the race is only performed by single riders. This documentary follows a team of elite Australian athletes from various sports to lead the country’s break into the sport and compete against the traditional winter winners like the Swiss, Germans and Canadians. Directed by Andrea Ulbrick. 2006. 57 minutes.

“Last Woman Standing” – World champion Canadian boxers and former friends Mary Spencer and Ariane Fortin must face off for a spot to compete at the 2012 Olympics. Directed by Juliet Lammers and Lorraine Price. 2013. 84 minutes.

“Rising From Ashes” – Cycling legend Jonathan “Jock” Boyer (the first American to compete in the Tour de France) moves to Rwanda with the goal of getting the Rwandan National Cycling Team to the Olympic Games for the first time. Their goal and dedication to training sparks inspiration in their local community. Narrated by Forest Whitaker. Directed by T. C. Johnstone. 2013. 80 minutes.

“Catherine Freeman” – Australian gold medal-winning sprinter Catherine Freeman searches into her Aboriginal ancestry to learn more about herself, the source of her determination and her family’s past. 2008. 52 minutes.

“Beijing Taxi” – A look into the transformation of China’s ancient capital for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. This intimate portrait of three cab drivers explores the modern issues and changing values they must face as Beijing prepares itself to be in the global spotlight. Directed by Miao Wang. 2010. 79 minutes.

Rachel Baker can be reached at (509) 459- 5583 or