Six Oscar-worthy stories from London

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The Oscar nominees are out, and, no surprise, Lincoln scored the most nominations with twelve. That’s because we’re suckers for biopics that show the struggle of the American spirit and ignore the “details” that might muddy the story. And so, here’s six Olympic biopics we’d like to see made from stories plucked from London 2012.

1. SOUTHERN BLADES: Oscar Pistorius, born with missing fibulas, his legs were amputated below the knees as a baby. In 2008 he appealed the Olympic Court of Arbitration for the right to compete with the standard Olympic games, a right that was granted him for the 2012 games where he went on to run in South Africa’s Men’s 4×400 team.

Lead: Jude Law

Oscar Chances: SUPER HIGH

Courtrooms, drama, human triumph, the world stage, and an Oscar for special effects. What’s not to love?

2. WATER WINGS: The true life and story of Michael Phelps: a young boy growing up in Baltimore who would go on to win eight golds in a single Olympics, and twenty-two total medals, to become the most decorated athlete in history.

Lead: John Krasinski (plus muscles)

Oscar Chances: MEDIUM

We have a great story here, especially with his early fourth place finish, keeping the audience guessing if he has one more in him (apparently he had six). But, as with all biopics, you have execute it top to bottom for success (see: Alexander [2004]).

3. MISSY THE MISSLE: The incredible true story of Missy Franklin – teenager, olympian, missile – and her world-capturing performance on the biggest stage imaginable, along with her quest, at 17, towards a gold medal and world record.

Lead: Amy Adams

Oscar Chances: LOW

It’s not a better story than Phelps, and, for some reason – call it appeal – swimming movies have never much translated to the silver screen. Just ask Terrence Howard if you don’t believe us.

4. BOLTING TO THE LINE: “I am now a living legend. Bask in my glory.” Jamaica’s Usain Bolt destroyed the exceptional field (all but one under 10s) of the 100 meters in 9.63 seconds. Also winning the 200 in 19.32, the first athlete to win both sprints in consecutive Olympics. And to top it off, he also ran the anchor leg to set a world record in the 4×100 relay for his third gold.

Lead: Michael B. Jordan

Oscar Chances: MEDIUM

It would all fall on Bolt’s shoulders. His life is as astounding as it is unlikeable. Michael Jordan and Muhammed Ali have gone before; there may be little room left for another greatest and his sass ought be handled with great care.

5. FIERCE!: The Fab Five – the five American gymnasts (Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, McKayla Maroney, Kyla Ross) who won the all-around gymnastics gold, including the individual champion Gabby Douglas – lived up to their name, bringing home only the second gold ever for the women’s gymnastics team.

Lead: Willow Smith (as Gabby) – and at least one of the Fanning sisters

Oscar Chances: LOW

An ensemble piece would receive great audience appeal – teamwork, perseverance, underdogs – but certainly the Oscars are far above that. And remember Stick It? No? Because most of us would rather just watch real gymnastics.

6. BEST CHASE SCENARIO: the story of the burgeoning friendship between Mo Farah (UK) and Galen Rupp (USA) and the story of how they placed 1-2 at the 2012 Olympics in the 10,000m final for two countries that hadn’t medaled in 104, and 48 years, respectively.

Lead(s): Garrett Hedlund (as Rupp), David Gyasi (as Farah)

Oscar Chances: HIGH

Call me crazy, but everyone loved the running/religious tension in Chariots of Fire, and I can’t think of the last dear-friends-of-different-races-working-together movie that actually worked. It’s time. The Oscars are ready. We’re all ready.


Bryce is a filmmaker in Los Angeles, and does most of his writing for various Disney International publications. But he remains a Seattle sports fan beneath the magical facade.

Simone Biles surprises world’s oldest gymnast on NBC

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The world’s greatest gymnast meets the world’s oldest gymnast on NBC’s “Little Big Shots: Forever Young” on Wednesday.

Simone Biles surprises German Johanna Quaas, the Guinness World Record holder for oldest gymnast at the age of 91.

More on Quaas here.

The oldest gymnast Biles has competed against was Oksana Chusovitina, the Uzbek who competed at her gymnastics record seventh Olympics in Rio at age 41.

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MORE: Chusovitina jokes about retirement in HOF speech

Olympic champions chasing world records face tests in Paris

Omar McLeod, Devon Allen
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Omar McLeod and Christian Taylor, both on world-record quests this season, face their top challengers at a Diamond League meet in Paris on Saturday.

McLeod, the 110m hurdles gold medalist, the triple jump champion Taylor and sprint queen Elaine Thompson headline the Paris meet, live on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold and 2 p.m. on NBCSN.

McLeod, who last Saturday ran the fastest 110m hurdles in five years, could take aim at the world record as part of a field including the five fastest men in the world this year.

Taylor faces Will Claye in the most anticipated head-to-head in Paris. Taylor relegated countryman Claye to silver at the last two Olympics, but Claye won the U.S. title last weekend with a personal-best leap.

Olympic 100m and 200m champion Thompson is coming off winning the Jamaican 100m title in 10.71 seconds last week, .01 off her shared national record.

Athletes are preparing for the world championships in London in August.

Paris start lists are available here. Here’s the schedule (all times Eastern):

1:08 p.m. — Men’s high jump
1:25 p.m. — Women’s shot put
1:32 p.m. — Men’s pole vault
2:03 p.m. — Women’s 400m
2:14 p.m. — Men’s 3000m
2:29 p.m. — Women’s 100m
2:35 p.m. — Men’s javelin
2:38 p.m. — Men’s triple jump
2:40 p.m. — Men’s 800m
2:50 p.m. — Men’s 100m
3 p.m. — Women’s 3000m steeplechase
3:25 p.m. — Men’s 110m hurdles
3:40 p.m. — Women’s 1500m
3:52 p.m. — Men’s 200m

Here are five events to watch:

Men’s Pole Vault — 1:32 p.m. ET

World-record holder Renaud Lavillenie is the only French track and field athlete to take Olympic gold in the last 20 years (at the 2012 London Games), so he is certainly the crowd favorite across all events Saturday.

That said, Lavillenie is not the favorite. He was third in a domestic competition on Wednesday, failing to clear 5.71 meters, which wasn’t an Olympic medal height. Lavillenie, the Rio silver medalist, was beaten by Sam Kendricks, the Rio bronze medalist, at two previous Diamond League meets this season. Kendricks, who just cleared six meters for the first time at the U.S. Championships last week, is in the Paris field.

Women’s 100m — 2:29 p.m. ET

Thompson has won 14 straight 100m events that she’s finished, according to Tilastopaja.org, and the two-year streak should extend here. The question is whether she can break 10.7 for the first time to claim the Jamaican record outright and move into solo third on the all-time list.

The field does not include her biggest threat at the world championships — Rio silver medalist Tori Bowie — but present are Ivorians Murielle Ahoure (ranked No. 3 in the world this year) and Marie-Josee Ta Lou (fourth at the Olympics).

Men’s Triple Jump — 2:38 p.m. ET

Taylor’s three losses since July 2014 have come to either Claye or Cuban Pedro Pablo Pichardo. Here, he faces both of them in a final for the first time since 2013, but Claye is the clear challenger.

Taylor ranks No. 1 in the world this year with his 18.11-meter jump from the Prefontaine Classic on May 27, just 18 centimeters off the world record he covets.

Claye is on a roll, having gone at least 17 meters in all 12 of his competition jumps this year, including a personal-best 17.91 to win the U.S. title last week (Taylor didn’t have to compete at nationals as he had a world championships bye). Claye also jumped 18.05 with slightly too much tailwind at Pre. Claye has the second-through-sixth best triple jumps in the world this year.

Women’s 3000m Steeplechase — 3 p.m. ET

Fresh off another U.S. title, Olympic bronze medalist Emma Coburn takes aim at Olympic champion and world-record holder Ruth Jebet of Bahrain and 18-year-old phenom Celliphine Chespol of Kenya.

Jebet, a Kenyan-born 20-year-old, has looked shaky this year, finishing third in two of three Diamond League starts. But the only women to beat her were Kenyans. Including Chespol, who won the Pre Classic in the second-fastest time ever despite stopping to fix her shoe.

Coburn was routinely finishing 10 seconds behind Jebet in 2016, but at Pre managed to close the gap to four seconds, running three tenths shy of her American record from Rio.

Men’s 110m Hurdles — 3:25 p.m. ET

There will be two early heats to qualify into this final, but expect McLeod to lead the field. The Olympic champion broke his national record in lowering his personal best by seven hundredths at the Jamaican Championships last week.

McLeod ran 12.90 seconds, but spoke confidently afterward, reportedly saying his target was actually 12.85. Nonetheless, it was the fastest time in the world since Aries Merritt set the current world record of 12.80 in 2012.

Merritt isn’t in this field, but McLeod is joined by the other four fastest men in the world this year — France’s Garfield Darien, Jamaican Ronald Levy, South African Antonio Alkana and the American Allen.

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