Even when they wow us in the ring, on the bar or on the field, the most awe-inspiring athletes are still human — and humans are messy. The world of sports is full of crime and scandal. More than enough to fill an entire episode! From dangerous errors to systemic racism, these podcasts pull back the curtain to reveal that sports stars — and the industries that support them — aren’t always golden behind the scenes.
First up, one of our favourite recent indie podcasts shows how in Olympic gymnastics, precision is everything — and a small mistake can have life-altering consequences.
Later, the podcast False Idol looks at the story of Oscar Pistorius, the once celebrated sprinter, and his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who he shot and killed. It explores hero worship, gender based violence, and Steenkamp’s own life.
And the name “Tiger Woods” might be the first thing you think of when someone says “sports scandal.” What did the media get right and wrong when covering him?
Podcasts featured this week:
Blind Landing: “At the 2000 Summer Olympics, the greatest gymnasts in the world gathered in Sydney, Australia in pursuit of their ultimate prize: gold in the women’s gymnastics All-Around final. But in the midst of the competition, something inexplicable and unprecedented happened that derailed the event –– a mistake that changed the gymnasts’ lives forever. Through original interviews with Olympic gymnasts, coaches and officials, Blind Landing reveals the untold true story of one of the biggest mistakes in Olympic history.”
BADLANDS Season 2: SPORTSLAND: “Mike Tyson’s arrival as a prodigious 18-year-old professional boxer in the 1980s represented a major paradigm shift in the sport. But just as quickly as he rose, Mike Tyson began to fall.”
False Idol: “Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee sprinter from South Africa, was once considered the greatest Paralympian of all time. Running on carbon-fiber legs, he racked up gold medals, broke world records, and was celebrated as a hero in his home country. He inspired millions of people around the world, who knew him simply as The Blade Runner. In 2012, he made history as the first amputee sprinter to compete at the Olympic Games. Then, just six months later, he shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. False Idol re-examines Pistorius’ rise and fall, telling the story through the eyes of the people whose lives he irrevocably changed along the way.”
All-American: Tiger Woods: “Tiger Woods is one of America’s most awe-inspiring icons. He’s been world-famous for decades and his story has many chapters: a phenom’s rise, a shocking fall from grace, and debatably the greatest sports comeback of all time. But few people have really gotten to know Tiger Woods – it’s been largely left to the media to define who he is. On this season of All-American, Jordan Bell and journalist Albert Chen revisit Tiger’s journey to find out what the media got right, and what it didn’t.”
Running Things with Donovan Bailey: “The hosts [Donovan Bailey and Simon Jain]…delve deep into the ‘Almost’ Donovan Debacle, a little known fact that the world renowned champion sprinter, almost didn’t represent Canada in the historic 1996 games, or beyond. This polarizing and cautionary tale, addresses the politics and racism in sport, and illustrates what level of determination it takes to succeed against the odds.”