I, Tonya and 7 Other Gold Medal-Worthy Olympic Movies
From tales of victory to what happens to athletes after their medal wins, these Olympic-inspired films are sure to inspire
The story of the bizarre attack on figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, which held connections to competitor Tonya Harding, just weeks before the Lillehammer Olympics, has fascinated people since it first made headlines in 1994. I, Tonya sought to tell Harding's side of the story, including her rise to skating glory, her marriage to Jeff Gillooly — who, along with her bodyguard Shawn Eckhardt, orchestrated the attack — and her complicated relationship with her mother. Margot Robbie earned Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for her portrayal of Harding, and Allison Janney nabbed both awards for her standout role as Harding's mother, Lavona.
CHARIOTS OF FIRE
This 1982 story of the 1924 Olympics won the Oscar for Best Picture and the Golden Globe for best foreign film. It focused on British Olympic runners Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams, both of whom became world famous and won gold medals at the Paris Olympics. Liddell, especially, was well-known for refusing to run in a qualifying race because of his Christian faith, as it took place on a Sunday. Beyond the story, Chariots of Fire also gave the world one of the most iconic theme songs of all time.
This 1982 movie followed the U.S. women's track and field team as they prepared for the 1980 Olympics. Of course, their dreams were dashed when the United States ended up boycotting the 1980 games, which were held in Moscow, due to tensions with the communist Soviet Union.
Based on one of the best-known underdog stories in Olympic history, Miracle followed the United States hockey team on the road to and competing in the 1980 Olympics. With the Soviet Union favored to win the gold, the U.S. team shocked the world not only beating the Soviets, but going on to win the gold medal — hence the title Miracle.
With its sunshine and sandy beaches, Jamaica is just about the last place you'd expect to serve as a training site for an Olympic bobsled team. But ahead of the 1988 Winter Olympics, a group of Jamaican men attempted to make it to the Games despite the fact that the country had never sent a bobsled team to the Olympics before. Cool Runnings is based on the team's eventual 1988 debut, and is a dramatized tale of the team's journey to the Olympics. They never won gold, but the team's goal was more to be treated as true competitors, rather than winning a medal.
Jesse Owens's historic four-time gold medal feat at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin is chronicled in the 2016 film Race. His road to Olympic success was filled with many obstacles, including Owens facing racism at home and at the Olympics.
Again, Foxcatcher isn't about the Olympics specifically. Instead, it's about two Olympians, Dave and Mark Schultz — the latter of whom was recruited by a billionaire, John E. du Pont, to train again as a wrestler in the hopes of heading to the top world competitions, including the Olympics, on Team Foxcatcher. Though there was initial athletic success for Mark on Team Foxcatcher, tensions eventually started to run high — particularly between Dave and du Pont.
This Steven Spielberg-directed movie isn't about 1972 Olympics in Munich, but rather, what happened afterward. Following the massacre at the Olympics that saw 11 Israeli athletes taken hostage and killed by a Palestinian terrorist group, it followed the secret plot of the Israeli government to exact revenge on the group that led the Munich massacre. A critical success, the film was nominated for two Golden Globes as well as Best Picture at the Oscars.