There will be no Olympics this summer, but Five Rings Films has announced its latest slate of documentaries on some of the biggest stars of the games.
After achieving one of the biggest upsets in Olympics history, wrestler Rulon Gardner struggled with his newfound stardom amidst a constant battle with life’s struggles.
In Rulon Gardner Won’t Die, he shares his personal journey, from humble roots growing up on a Wyoming farm to finding fame at the Olympic Games Sydney 2000, where he defeated three-time Olympic champion Aleksandr Karelin of Russia, and how his resilience has helped him to overcome adversity after the ‘miracle on the mat’ and multiple near-death experiences.
Following the release of Rulon Gardner Won’t Die, the Olympic Channel plans to release three additional documentaries over the next year from Five Rings Films, which is produced exclusively for the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) global media platform by Frank Marshall and Mandalay Sports Media (MSM).
Marshall, whose producing credits include Jason Bourne, Jurassic World and Indiana Jones, serves as executive producer alongside MSM’s Mike Tollin and Jon Weinbach, whose recent credits include The Last Dance. Greg Groggel will serve as executive producer for the Olympic Channel.
Five Rings Films, the Olympic Channel’s signature documentary series, is a series of documentaries depictiing iconic individuals and record-breaking teams of the modern Olympic era.
Besides the Rulon Gardner film, the new slate of Five Rings Films feature documentaries currently in production for release in 2020 and 2021 includes:
The Iron Hammer: How volleyball icon Lang Ping brought gold to China, left home for adventures abroad, and then returned to save a struggling women’s program and turn them into Olympic champions.
·The Distance (Working Title): The story of an enduring Japanese running tradition and a humble Olympic champion named Naoko Takahashi, who captured her nation’s imagination with a run for the ages at the Olympic Games Sydney 2000.
· A Brilliant Curling Story (Working Title): Despite a lack of funding, five unassuming women from Scotland united for a shot at Olympic curling glory for Great Britain and won the hearts of a nation in the process at the Olympic Games Salt Lake City 2002.
“Frank Marshall and Mike Tollin are among the world’s greatest storytellers and we look forward to sharing the stories of these incredible athletes with the world in the lead up to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 hosted in 2021,” said Mark Parkman, general manager of the IOC’s global Olympic Channel. “This ambitious documentary series is a hallmark of our programming efforts to bring Olympic heroes to life outside of the Games themselves.”
“The Olympic Games have a rich history of memorable moments as well as controversial moments, so I’m very excited to be able to tell the incredible stories of Rulon Gardner and other Olympic greats through this inspiring series, which combines my passion for filmmaking with my passion for the Olympics,” said Marshall.
“We’re so proud of this slate,” said Tollin. “These are stories of determination and grit, of overcoming obstacles, and achieving against long odds. These heroes remind us of why we love sports and why the Olympics continue to inspire us.”