Megan Rapinoe follows the stories of eight athletes making their mark on their sport

By Ale Russian
April 07, 2020 03:14 PM
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Credit: Courtesy NBC Olympics

When Megan Rapinoe watches an athlete make an incredible play or save, she always wants to know more about the person behind the big moment.

The star soccer player hosts Quibi’s new show Prodigy, a documentary series following the stories of eight young athletes and the sacrifice and dedication it took for them to reach the highest levels of their sport. The premise of the show resonated with Rapinoe, a lifelong sports lover.

“I love watching sports, but it’s always the stories behind it,” Rapinoe, 34, tells PEOPLE. “At the Olympics, I remember as a kid always watching every single backstory about all the athletes, then getting to watch the athlete you’re just so much more invested.”

The series follows Jalen Green, 18, the highest-ranked high school basketball player in the country, Sha’Carri Richardson, 19, the fastest woman in NCAA track and field history, Red Gerard, 19, the youngest Winter Olympic Gold Medalist since 1928, Regan Smith, 18, the fastest woman in swimming history, Matthew Boling, 19, the fastest man in high school track and field history, Tyler Adams, 21, member of the US men’s national soccer team, Korey Foreman, 17, the top-ranked high school football player in the country, and Chantel Navarro, 16, U.S. junior national boxing team member.

Prodigy draws on the “incredible storytelling power of sports” and brings viewers into the early stages, Rapinoe explains, when future stars are just starting to make their mark.

“A lot of times these sort of documentary series come after, it’s sort of a compilation of a career’s worth of work,” Rapinoe says. “But you don’t get a lot of the early vibe and what these kids are going through at such a young age, and how they persevere and the way they are embarking on their career.”

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Working on the show also made Rapinoe get introspective about the beginnings of her own career, and how her relationship with failure has evolved over time. While the star has won an Olympic gold medal and two World Cup trophies — including last year’s remarkable run — she also had to grapple with heartbreaking injuries and setbacks.

But the failures are what make the player, Rapinoe says.

“I think oftentimes you only get to see the product of the athlete. You see the gold medal performance or you see the game-winning shot or you see them in the biggest moments, and you don’t really see all the times that we fail,” she says. “We literally fail every day. That’s the whole point of it all. You just hope that a few times in your career you don’t fail. So, to see that process and the resilience that that builds — and you can see that in these younger kids — I think learning that from a young age really, really suits them as they start to grow up.”

All episodes of Prodigy are available to stream on Quibi now.