Lest you thought the London Games was your final shot to catch gymnastics until 2016, fear not: the U.S. athletes will kick off on the three-month, 40-city “Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions.” This seems a misnomer since the men’s team is also included, but we’ll let it slide. The tour kicks off Saturday in San Jose.
The varying cast includes Gabby Douglas and the Fab Five or Fierce Five or whatever we’re calling them these days (we prefer “the Freshman”… just floating it out there), as well as Beijing standouts Nastia Liukin, Chellsie Memmel, and Alicia Sacramone, and men’s team members Jake Dalton, John Orozco, and Jonathan Horton, among others.
Curiously absent from the group is Danell Leyva, who won bronze on the high bar in London. Apparently he’s more interested in a future on the stage and is looking into adding his talents to the infamous “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” Broadway production after saying he was wowed by the stunts when he saw the show.
“He has designs on one of the nine Spidey roles who do the bulk of the swinging around the theater,” a crew member told the New York Post. “The ladies of ‘Spider-Man’ are drooling at the possibility.”
His gift. His curse.
“Olympic Pride, American Prejudice,” a documentary on 18 African-American Olympians at the Berlin 1936 Games, is set to be screened in the spring and be narrated and executive produced by Blair Underwood, according to Variety.
The group of 18, headlined by Jesse Owens, competed in the face of Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler on the brink of World War II.
Trailers for the film are here and here.
From the film’s website:
“Olympic Pride, American Prejudice is a feature length documentary exploring the trials and triumphs of 18 African American Olympians in 1936. Set against the strained and turbulent atmosphere of a racially divided America, which was torn between boycotting Hitler’s Olympics or participating in the Third Reich’s grandest affair, the film follows 16 men and two women before, during and after their heroic turn at the Summer Olympic Games in Berlin. They represented a country that considered them second class citizens and competed in a country that rolled out the red carpet in spite of an undercurrent of Aryan superiority and anti-Semitism. They carried the weight of a race on their shoulders and did the unexpected with grace and dignity.
The athletes experienced things that they were not expecting—applause, warm welcomes, integrated Olympic villages and the respect of their competitors. They were world heroes yet returned home to a short-lived glory. This story is complicated. This story is triumphant but unheralded.”
MORE: See ‘Race’ film poster
Family members of the Munich 1972 Olympic attack victims “described the extent of the cruelty” in interviews for “Munich 1972 & Beyond,” an upcoming documentary on the massacre, according to The New York Times.
Eleven Israeli athletes and officials were killed after being taken hostage by a Palestinian group in the athletes’ village nearly 40 years ago, with nine dying in a failed rescue attempt.
In 1992, widows of two of the victims learned details of how the athletes and officials were treated — including via graphic photographs — and recently spoke publicly about it, according to the newspaper.
“What they did is that they cut off his genitals through his underwear and abused him,” Ilana Romano said through a translator of husband Yossef Romano, an Olympic weightlifter, according to the newspaper. “Can you imagine the nine others sitting around tied up? They watched this.”
The documentary “Munich 1972 & Beyond,” announced earlier this year, is set to be released in early 2016. Here’s an interview with one of the film’s producers.
In 2014, it was announced that a $2.3 million memorial in Munich was planned to remember the victims, with the International Olympic Committee contributing $250,000.
At Rio 2016, a moment of remembrance will be held during the Closing Ceremony and a special mourning area will be in the Olympic village to honor those who have died during an Olympic Games.
PHOTOS: Munich 1972 Olympic sites, including massacre site