Boston Marathon documentary to go beyond 2013 attacks

Boston Marathon
AP
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BOSTON (AP) — America’s marquee marathon is ready for its close-up.

“Boston,” the first feature-length documentary film about the Boston Marathon, is in the works. Its creators say the movie will go well beyond the 2013 bombings to retrace the iconic footrace’s first steps in 1897.

“Over the years, the Boston Marathon has had so many extraordinary stories of people achieving and accomplishing things,” said producer Megan Williams, an Oscar-nominated filmmaker. “It’s like looking at cultural and social change over the last century through the lens of this major sporting event.”

Two feature films (one starring Mark Wahlberg), a stage play and an HBO special also are in production, though they’re all about the 2013 finish line attacks that killed three spectators and wounded more than 260 others.

No Boston documentary would be complete without the dark events of 2013. “Boston,” however, will focus less on the chaos than the comeback. The producers had 56 cameras along the course in 2014 for the marathon’s first running since the bombings.

Director Jon Dunham said the city’s determination to take back its namesake race will be a recurring theme in the movie, which was conceived before the attacks.

But the film will be a sort of highlights reel from the 120-year-old marathon, the nation’s oldest. The Boston Athletic Association, which organizes the race, gave Dunham exclusive rights to its archive of photos, video and marathon memorabilia.

“Boston” will tell the stories of some of the greatest marathoners ever to conquer the hilly 26.2-mile course stretching from Hopkinton, Massachusetts, to Boston. They include four-time winner Bill Rodgers; Johnny Kelley, who ran 61 Bostons and won two; and Kathrine Switzer, who in 1967 became the first woman to run with an official bib number.

“It’s a huge undertaking. We’ve got 300 hours of stuff we shot, not counting the archival material,” said Dunham, who hopes it will psych up runners like his popular “Spirit of the Marathon” films — cult classics that followed select amateur and elite runners at the 2005 Chicago and 2012 Rome marathons.

Nothing rivals the Boston Marathon in terms of sheer lore, said Tom Derderian, a running coach and author who’s serving as an executive producer, along with 2004 Olympic marathon bronze medalist Deena Kastor.

“The marathon is a mirror in which you can see the reflections of the times in every year,” he said. “For instance, the world of the 1910 Boston was not this world — it featured young men who were considered at great risk of ruining their health by running. That was the essential myth of those times.”

Derderian ticks off other examples: wild speculation in the 1920s that fueled rampant betting on the winner, and unemployed men who ran during World War II in hopes the media attention would help them compete for scarce jobs.

“Boston” also will follow more modern heroes, such as 2014 victor Meb Keflezighi, the first American man to win in 31 years.

But the real star is the race itself.

The movie tentatively is set to premiere in April 2017 in conjunction with the 121st edition of the race. John Hancock Financial, the marathon’s principal backer, has signed on as the film’s title sponsor, though Williams said she’s still working to raise half of the project’s $2 million budget.

In the meantime, the Boston Symphony Orchestra is recording Emmy-winning composer Jeff Beal‘s score.

“I’m not a runner and I’m not from Boston,” Williams said. “But I hope our film really captures the uniqueness and importance of the Boston Marathon.”

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Online:

Film site: http://bostonmarathonfilm.com

BOSTON Film Trailer from Jon Dunham on Vimeo.

Teri McKeever fired by Cal as women’s swimming coach after investigation

Teri McKeever
Getty
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Teri McKeever, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Olympic swimming head coach, was fired by the University of California at Berkeley after an investigation into alleged verbal and emotional abuse of swimmers that she denied.

McKeever was put on paid administrative leave from her job as head women’s swimming coach in May after an Orange County Register report that 20 current or former Cal swimmers said McKeever verbally and emotionally bullied her swimmers.

Cal athletics director Jim Knowlton wrote in a letter to the Cal team and staff that a resulting independent law firm report detailed “verbally abusive conduct that is antithetical to our most important values.”

“I strongly believe this is in the best interests of our student-athletes, our swimming program and Cal Athletics as a whole,” Knowlton said of McKeever’s firing in a press release. “The report details numerous violations of university policies that prohibit race, national origin and disability discrimination.”

The Orange County Register first published what it says is the full independent report here.

“I deny and unequivocally refute all conclusions that I abused or bullied any athlete and deny any suggestion I discriminated against any athlete on the basis of race, disability or sexual orientation,” McKeever said in a statement Tuesday confirming her firing and expressing disappointment in how the investigation was conducted. “While I am disappointed in the way my CAL Career will conclude, I wish to thank and celebrate the many student-athletes and staff that made my time in Berkeley a true blessing and gift.”

McKeever’s lawyer wrote that McKeever “will be filing suit to expose the manner in which gender has affected not only the evaluation of her coaching but harmed and continues to harm both female and male athletes.”

McKeever led Cal women’s swimming and diving for nearly 30 years, winning four NCAA team titles and coaching Olympic champions including Missy FranklinNatalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.

In 2004, she became the first woman to be on a U.S. Olympic swim team coaching staff, as an assistant. In 2012, she became the first woman to be head coach of a U.S. Olympic swim team. She was an assistant again for the Tokyo Games.

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Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

Diana Taurasi
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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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