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The Olympiad Greatest Moments

Ask not alone for Victory
Ask for Courage
For if you can Endure
You bring Honour to Yourself.
Even more,
You bring Honour to us All.
-Bud Greenspan

The above quote is printed on the back of the container that houses the 8 video tapes that each contain two episodes from the Olympiad Series collection. This collection was distributed in 1996 by Dreamworks SKG Television in cooperation with the United States Olympic Committee. Many of the Olympic tapes that are included in this filmography use footage that is contained within this collection. I highly recommend this collection if you want to view documentary Summer Olympic track and field footage. Although this collection originally retailed for over $100.00, auction sites (such as eBay) often carry this collection for about a quarter of this price. A 31-page booklet was originally distributed with this collection and the entries outline the athlete's achievements. If you choose to order this collection from, make sure you read the description carefully if you are buying used to get the entire 8 tape series. Individual titles may be ordered as well and each individual tape is discussed below:

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Olympiad Series: The 1500 Meters

This is the second half of tape two of the 1996 series with a running time of 46 minutes . "The metric mile. No other Olympic event provides such an intensive test of strategy, speed and endurance. Featured in this Olympian look at the 1500 Meters for men are Finland's Paavo Nurmi, who won 9 gold medals in his Olympic career, Kip Keino's dramatic victory over Jim Ryun at Mexico City, Sebastian Coe's 1980 and 1984 victories, the only man to win the event twice, and the 1992 Barcelona winner Fermin Cacho of Spain who triumphantly won the race in front of his countrymen. These stories and many more capture the true drama of the premier race on the Olympic program." Other featured athletes are Josef Barthel, Ron Delaney, Herb Elliot, Peter Snell, Pekka Vasala, John Walker, and Peter Rono of Kenya.

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Olympiad Series: The 800 Meters

This is from the first half of the second volume of eight of The Olympiad Greatest Moments boxed set from 1996. The box states: "Two laps on the 400-meter a pace that's almost a full sprint. The 800 Meters features the exciting come-from-behind victory by Dave Wottle of the United States, two-time winner Peter Snell of New Zealand, the powerful Alberto Juantorena of Cuba and the 1992 Barcelona winner William Tanui of Kenya who won the gold medal by a mere 4/100ths of a second. These and many others are featured in this fascinating look at The 800 Meters, the Olympic event that's synonymous with close finishes and upset victories." Additional runners featured include: Thomas Hampson, Mal Whitfield, Arthur Wint, Tom Courtney, Steve Ovett, Joaquim Cruz, and Paul Ereng.

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Olympiad Series: The African Runners

Movie of the Month, July 200447 minutes, original release in 1988 and re-released in the 1996 collection in tape three of the series. "The African Runners traces the meteoric rise of East African athletes to the forefront of the international Olympic track and field scene, from their first participation in the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games to the present. Some of the great runners featured are Kenya's Kip Keino, Ethiopia's Abebe Bikila and Mamo Wolde, John Akii-Bua, the only gold medalist in the history of the Olympics from Uganda. The African Runners ends with the story of John Stephen Akhwari of Tanzania who, despite being bloodied and bandaged, courageously finished the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Marathon and exhibited the true spirit of the Olympic Games."

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Olympiad Series: An Olympic Symphony

This 1976 release runs for 46 minutes and was not included in the 8 cassette boxed set. The back of this container reads "An Olympic Symphony combines a visual panorama of the Olympic Games, the most classic of international sports competitions, with the world's great music. Not a word is spoken as the drama of the Olympic Games, from 1896 to the present, is choreographed to the music of Handel, Beethoven, Gliere, and Glazanov." The artwork shown is from Paramount Pictures 1988 cover.

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Olympiad Series: The Australians

Originally released in 1975 and then again in 1988 by Paramount Pictures. This video is not included in the Olympiad Greatest Moments collection. The back of the box reads: "From the land Down the top of the world in Olympic Games competition. Ron Clark, Shirley Strickland, Dawn Fraser, Herb Elliott (the miler many think was the world's best ever) and others are featured in this tribute to The Australians, Olympians from one of the world's great sports-loving countries. Using competition footage and personal recollections of the athletes, The Australians (from Emmy-winning sports filmmaking master Bud Greenspan's The Olympiad series) captures the glory of Olympic triumph...and the dramatic human stories behind it."

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Olympiad Series: The Big Ones That Got Away

"The Big Ones That Got Away offers unforgettable stories of going for Olympic gold...and almost making it. Highlights include the story of the 1936 German women's relay team that, with a 10 meter lead, dropped the baton on the final pass-off, the controversial ruling that gave swimmer Lance Larson the silver medal when most of the judges thought he had won the gold. Sprinter Dave Sime's relay championship that was won and then lost; the astounding last-second controversy surrounding the 1972 USA-USSR basketball showdown and many more." Additional runners on this video include Palph Metcalfe, Ralph Hill, Barney Ewell, Dave Sime, and world record holder Ron Clarke from Australia. This is from tape six, entitled "Against All Odds" from The Olympiad Greatest Moments series. This video is 50 minutes long.

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Olympiad Series: The Decathlon

From tape one of the eight part series comes this 46 minute video. "Decathlon athletes do not compete, they survive, and the winner of this challenging ten event competition is called "the Greatest All-Around Athlete in the World." The Decathlon features the great decathletes like Jim Thorpe, Bob Mathias, Rafer Johnson, Bruce Jenner, Daley Thompson as well as the 1992 Barcelona winner Robert Zmelik and many others including Paavo Yrjölä, Milt Campbell, Bill Toomey, and Christian Schenk." Like all the videos in this series Bub Greenspan was the writer, director, and producer.

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Olympiad Series: The East Europeans

This 46 minute production is from tape seven of The Olympiad Greatest Moments series that David Perry narrates. "They came from the little countries that could, the small nations from the other side of the now defunct "Iron Curtain" that provided some of the Games' greatest champions. Romania's gymnastic darling Nadia Comaneci, husband and wife Emil and Dana Zátopek of Czechoslovakia, Hungary's three time boxing champion, Laslo Papp and other exceptional athletes share the spotlight in this fascinating tale of The East Europeans." Description from the container of the 1996 Dreamworks SKG Television release.

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Olympiad Series: The East Germans

From the eigth and last tape of the 1996 collection comes this 50 minute production that was originally issued in 1979. "Before the reunification of the two Germanies in October of 1990, East Germany was called a "sports miracle." A country of just 17 million people, they won only seven medals in the 1956 Summer Olympics, but soon they captured 90 in 1976, and then 126 in 1980. They were the East Germans, athletes like Kornelia Ender, Roland Matthes, Waldemar Cierpinski and many more who benefited from a system of coaching and training unlike any other."

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Olympiad Series: The Fastest Men in the World

David Perry narrates this 1980 film that was updated for the 1996 collection. The container states: They undertook a lifetime of training...for just 10 seconds of Olympic Glory. Just some of the athletes featured in this captivating history of the Olympic Men's 100 Meters are: Harold Abrahams of Chariots of Fire fame, Americans Jesse Owens, "Bullet" Bob Hayes and Carl Lewis, Germany's Armin Hary, considered the fastest starter in history, the Soviet Union's Valery Borzov, and the story of Great Britain's Linford Christie, who at the age of 34 at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics was the oldest man to ever earn the title of The Fastest Man in the World." Additional sprinters on this tape include Harrison Dillard, Lindy Remigino, Bobby Morrow, Jim Hines, Don Quarrie, and Allan Wells.

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Olympiad Series: The Incredible Five

"The Olympic exploits of Finland's legendary Paavo Nurmi, all-around track wonder Fanny Blankers-Koen of the Netherlands, runner Emil Zátopek and gymnast Vera Caslavska of Czechoslovakia, and American discus thrower Al Oerter account for 35 Olympic medals- and countless thrills. The accomplishments of these five legendary athletes at the Olympics are nothing short of incredible." Bud Greenspan was the producer, writer, and director of this 1975 film that was included in tape four of the 1996 Centennial Celebration boxed set by Dreamworks.

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Olympiad Series: Jesse Owens Returns to Berlin

Originally captured on film in 1964, this is the first film of The Olympiad series. It was released in 1979 and again in 1988, however this footage was not included in the eight tape boxed set that houses sixteen of these films by Bub Greenspan. The back of the box states: "1936. Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler envisions the Berlin Olympic Gomes as a showcase of the so-called "Master Race." Instead, the world spotlight falls upon a 22-year-old American black man. His name: Jesse Owens. His feat: an unprecedented four gold medals. Featuring film highlights of the 1936 Olympics and Owens' personal, on-camera reflections, Jesse Owens Returns to Berlin retells the story of one of sports' greatest triumphs, and one of its most inspiring individuals."

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Olympiad Series: The Magnificent Ones

"The Magnificent Ones tells the stories of two of the most outstanding athletes in Olympic history. Lasse Viren of Finland fell midway through the Munich Games' 10,000 Meters event, but came roaring back to pass the field and set a world record. He also won the 5,000 Meters event that year (1972) as well as the 5,000 and 10,000 Meters in Montreal four years later. Swimmer Mark Spitz of the United States started his Olympic career by winning two gold medals in Mexico City (1968) and four years later in Munich won an incredible seven gold medals (the number of events he entered) while setting seven new world ecords." First captured in 1979, the 1996 release is part of tape four, The Magnificent Seven, of The Olympiad Greatest Moments series.

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Olympiad Series: The Marathon

Bud Greenspan brings you some of the most extensive marathon footage in this tape that starts the eight tape series. "The Marathon brilliantly brings to life the history of the Olympic's single most grueling competition, the 26 mile 385 yard marathon run. Highlights include the event's ancient origins on the Greek battlefield of Marathon. The 1908 London Games story of Dorando Pietri's victory and disqualification, Abebe Bikila striding barefoot to victory in Rome, Joan Benoit's historic win on the first Women's Olympic Marathon in Los Angeles and the closest finishes in history at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics by winners Hwang Young-Jo and Valentina Yegorova." Additional athletes captured in this 46 minute presentation includes: John Hayes, Charles Hefferson, Jim Peters, Emil Zátopek, Rhadi Ben Abdesselem, Barry Magee, Ron Clarke, Basil Heatley, Kokichi Tsuburaya, Mamo Wolde, Kenji Kimihara, Michael Ryan, Ron Hill, Frank Shorter, Karel Lismont, Derek Clayton, Bill Rodgers, Lasse Viren, Waldemar Cierpinski, Rob DeCastella, Alberto Salazar, Carlos Lopes, Grete Waitz, Rosa Mota, Kee Chung Sohn, Gelindo Bordin, Douglas Wakiihuri, Ahmed Salah, Koichi Morishita, and Lorraine Moller.

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Olympiad Series: The Persistent Ones

Originally done in 1976 and released again in 1996 as part of the fifth tape of the eight tape series. Here is how the box describes the contents: "Their training setbacks didn’t matter. Nor did their defeats. Canada’s Percy Williams, the sprint champion at the 1928 Games, France’s Alain Mimoun, the 1956 Movie of the Month, October 2006Marathon victor, and Frank Havens, the 1952 canoe champion whose father gave up a chance for a gold medal in 1924 to assist at Frank’s birth, are among the Olympians highlighted in The Persistent Ones, the inspiring saga of these and other athletes who remained undeterred in their ultimate quest for Olympic gold." Additional track & field participants in this film are Albin Stenroos, Donald Finlay, Herb McKenley, Derek Redmond (nearly eight minutes with race footage and commentary from both Redmond and his father), and Etienne Gailly from Belgium. Narration is again provided by David Perry and Bud Greenspan fulfills the role of producer, director, and writer of the script. offers this tape as well as the entire 8 tape series. If you are after the Derek Redmond footage then make sure that you obtain the most recent printing of this video, the 1996 Olympiad Collection tape.

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Olympiad Series: The Rare Ones

"Few Olympians ever win a gold medal. Fewer still are the competitors who not only win the gold, bit dominate their event for years. Those who have are The Rare Ones: Polish track star Irena Szewinska, U.S. hurdle king Harrison Dillard, Australian sprint champion Betty Cuthbert and legendary divers Pat McCormick (U.S.) and Klaus Dibiasi (Italy)." This particular title runs for 50 minutes and the executive producer for this series was Cappy Petrash Greenspan.

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Olympiad Series: The Soviet Athlete

Running 50 minutes this video is from the first part of the seventh tape from The Olympiad Greatest Moments series. "They emerged as a sudden athletic power, one that could run, box, vault, swim, hurdle and slam dunk with equal ease. From their debut at the 1952 Helsinki Games through their final appearance as a single nation at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Soviet athletes excelled in practically every Olympic event. Success has been there legacy. And this is their phenomenal story." Bud Greenspan originally told this story in 1976.

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Olympiad Series: They Didn’t Have a Chance

From 1979, this release was included in the boxed set collection, tape six, under the title "Against All Odds". The back of the container states: "Betty Robinson, the survivor of a near-fatal plane crash who returned to Olympic greatness... Son Kee Chung, the marathon champion who ran for Japan, but claimed victory for his occupied Korean homeland... Lindy Remigino, the gold-medal comeback of the sprinter labeled "an old man"... the 1956 USA eight-oar crew, which lost in the first round but came back to win the gold...and more! They Didn't Have A Chance, but still they won." Additional runners featured include Mary Peters, Frank Wykoff, Marty Glickman, and Sam Stoller.

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Olympiad Series: Women Gold Medal Winners

Originally released in 1975, this footage is included in the eighth tape of The Olympiad Greatest Moments Series. "Discover the intriguing stories of Babe Didrickson who was voted the best female athlete for the first half of the 20th century, Wilma Rudolph, who overcame childhood illnesses to become an Olympic legend; Eleanor Holms, whose quest for a second gold medal was undone by a glass of champagne; the "survive and win" 1964 Japanese Volleyball Team; and other memorable female champions at the Olympic Games." Like many of the other tapes in this series it also has a run time of 46 minutes.

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Olympian Triumphs: A Journey of Great Achievements

1996, 5 tapes, 60 minutes on each tape and available from A Sunset + Vine Production. Narrated by Nick Chilvers, written by Eddie Butler, and directed by Ian Sollors and Mike Cocker. This is one of the finest videos to cover individual athletes. The back of the box states: Movie of the Month, December 2006"Throughout Olympic history, certain athletes have left an indelible mark on their respective sports. The Olympic performances of legends such as Edwin Moses, Mark Spitz, Olga Korbut and others have embodied the true spirit and notion of the games by providing a source of inspiration to millions of people around the world. Olympians Triumphs profiles the men and women who reserved their greatest performances for the Olympics. Each video features two legendary Olympians, focusing on their moments of triumph in front of the world, and the story behind their personal road to Olympic glory." The athletes that are paired on each tape include:
  • Edwin Moses & Sebastian Coe
  • Emil Zátopek & Mark Spitz
  • Daley Thompson & Greg Louganis
  • Mark Todd & Carl Lewis
  • Olga Korbut & Vassily Alexeyev

The Olympians

Released in 1992, this video will go far in meeting the interests of the middle distance fan seeking coverage of Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe. Starting from the 1976 Olympic 800 meter final ran by Ovett, this film scans the careers of both men through the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Coe was the first athlete to repeat as 1500 meter Olympic Champion and you will also see many World Record performances, medal ceremonies, and commentary from the athletes themselves. There are images of training, racing, and many awards regarding the accomplishments of these great runners. This production has a length of 26:30 and is narrated by Kenneth Branagh, directed by Ken McGill, written by Patrick Collins, and produced by Neil Duncanson. This video is rare and consider yourself lucky if you see it available on an auction web site.

Olympic Century

This 3 tape collection was released in England in 1994 was done in PAL format. The run time is 169 minutes and I welcome any reader to provide more information about this production.

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Olympic Century

The Official History of the Modern Olympic Games
This 2004 release by Madacy Home Video lasts 150 minutes. This widescreen two DVD presentation is accompanied by a bonus music CD that features 33 National Anthems that were performed by The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. Disc One is entitled "The Olympic Spirit/Beginnings" and is broken down into sections on ideals, celebrations, heroes, and pride. You will see many great performances as it relates to the history of the Olympics from such athletes as Paavo Nurmi, Eddie Tolen, Jim Thorpe, Derek Redmond, Abebe Bikila, Rafer Johnson, Jesse Owens, Emil Zátopek, and Kathy Freeman. The second disc is entitled "Power" and includes sections called progress, greed, and also includes an epilogue and credits. The runners who appear to help illustrate the main points include Archie Williams, Horace Ashenfelter, Harold Abrahams, Maurice Greene, Babe Didricksen, Fanny Blankers-Koen, Joan Benoit, Ben Johnson, and Thomas Hicks. Both discs end with a 25 question multiple choice trivia quiz, and plan on sitting still for a bit to watch this one as the menu skips forward by section rather than athletic topic. To obtain this DVD visit to place your order.

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The Olympic Challenge

AKA: Texaco Presents the Olympic Challenge
Tagline: The energy to go further.

1992, 43 minutes. Texaco teamed with the Cappy Productions squad of Bud Greenspan and Nancy Beffa to bring yet another Olympic history overview. The back of the container describes the contents as follows: "Every four years, young athletes from all over the world meet at the Olympic Games. Each comes with his or her own personal goals, goals which are surpassed when these Olympians find the energy to go the distance, then further still. Texaco is proud to celebrate the spirit of the Olympic Games with this collection of highlights. Written and produced by Bud Greenspan, America's foremost sports filmmaker and Olympic historian, this is a very special videotape. Whether they took home gold medals or not, all of the athletes featured on this tape exhibited strength, determination and endurance." The only place you will find this video for sale is on the auction web sites. This film was released the following year under the title Best of the Best Olympic Moments where you can read about the specific film content.

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Olympic Classics: 1928-1967

Here is a black and white presentation of the Olympics that was originally released in 1987 and was distributed again in 1991 by Parade Video. Richard A. Klein is the executive producer of this documentary that contains footage of some of sports' greatest moments, including Jesse Owens from the 1936 Olympic Games. This tape was released under the authority of Universal Archives, is 55 minutes in length, and can be ordered from

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Olympic Cowboy

The Authorized Biography of the Fastest Man on Earth
1997, 68 minutes. In this video you get to see Bob Hayes run the 100 meter final in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Also see him come from fifth place by 7 meters to win the 4 x 100 meter relay by 3 meters in a time of 8.6 electronic or 8.4 hand time, still a record. The first hour of the video is an interview with Bob as he Movie of the Month, June 2006explains his childhood, high school career, college athletics, and pro career. He really explains the importance of his coaches as a father figures to him. He then explains his incarcerations and how he was involved. Throughout the entire interview he explains the importance of respect, and other key rules to a life of success. The end of this video consists of highlights with the Dallas Cowboys. Read an article by Justin Clouder entitled The Greatest 100m Runner of All Time. Bob Hayes died on September 18, 2002 and an obituary can be read from the Sports Illustrated site entitled Ex-Olympic star, Cowboy Hayes dies. In 1990 Hayes joined with Robert Pack and wrote his autobiography entitled Run, Bullet, Run: The Rise, Fall, and Recovery of Bob Hayes. Carrousel Productions is currently offering this production for sale in DVD ($20) or VHS ($15) format. Add $3 for shipping and handling and mail a money order or cashier’s check to:
   Carrousel Productions
   P.O. Box 1216
   204 Durham Dr.
   Athens, AL 35612

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