Jordon Cheung created this wonderful poster called 17 Days of Summer in honor of the Olympics. Somehow he’s managed to cram in just about every piece of Olympic paraphernalia you can imagine, from swim goggles to a karate gi. I poured over this poster for about 10 minutes trying to figure out what everything was!
I’m so sorry for that horrible pun of a title, I couldn’t help myself. Back in 2008 designer Klas Herbert made this series of fabric covered soccer balls which elevates them to this odd level of refinement. Instead of pieces of leather you get scraps of tweed and touches of houndstooth. Clearly not for actual use, I’m sure these would be great to set upon a mantle or next to your bed. Such a clever idea.
Sports films generally follow one cardinal rule. This rule has little to do with the technical aspects of film-making, story device, or even high octane performances. The one unforgivable component of a sports film is that it must – without a doubt- be inspiring. When I learned of the theme week topic I was keen to begin researching Olympics or Sports related films, as this is not a genre that I would naturally gravitate towards. As my research progressed, I gradually began to form self-imposed restrictions to uncover what would stand up as a high calibre sports film. I didn’t want it to star Adam Sandler (although admittedly I am a semi-fan), I didn’t want it to be about Football (to easy), and in the spirit of London 2012, I wanted it to focus on summer Olympics (leaving out the common denominator favorite Cool Running’s). My restrictions may be questionable, but in the spirit of going for the gold, I think rules might apply here.
There are hundreds sports films that are watchable, but there are mainly two that are dimensional enough to be accessible to a wider audience of sports fans and non-fans alike. It’s a cliché choice but, Chariots of Fire is the first. Released in 1981, nominated for seven Academy Awards and three prizes at Cannes that year, the film remains a quintessential example of sportsmanship, and the intrinsic drive that leads Olympic athletes to compete in the world’s fiercest competition. Set in 1924, the film follows two Cambridge scholars Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson) and Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross) who are both accepted to compete in the Paris 1924 Olympics, but who are driven by two very different motivations. The film tends to be slow and it deals with heavy religious subject matter (Jewish Abrahams experiences Anti-Semitism at Cambridge and Catholic Liddell is asked to compete on the Sabbath). As our 2012 world grows more and more secular the characters motivations in Chariots of Fire may seem trivial, yet the positive spirit of witnessing someone achieve a goal remains vividly inspirational. Besides, every frame of Chariots of Fire looks like it belongs in the dead center of the epic September issue of Vogue. If you could care less about the religious undertones, watch it solely for the luxury in set design and costuming that it displays on screen of an era that has escaped through time.
Without Limits is an easy second choice. Directed by Robert Towne, the 1998 film is the bio-pic of American record holder and long distance runner Steve Prefontaine (Billy Crudup) or “Pre” as he was colloquially called. Without Limitsand subsequently Prefontaine’s story, is a staunch example of remaining true to the cardinal rule of inspiration as it profiles Pre’s goal to compete at the Munich Olympics. Not only was Pre an outspoken rebel and tour-de-force athlete intent on over throwing athletic establishments, his stoic and wise coach was Bill Bowerman (Donald Sutherland) the founder of Nike. As much as it is all consuming to sit at the edge of your seat and watch Crudup out run a squad of other exceptional athletes, it is equally as entertaining to witness Bowerman’s empire collate from waffle-iron shoe soles to what we now know as his million dollar industry.
Also worth checking out is the basketball tear-jerker documentary Hoop Dreams available on Criterion, and ESPN’s documentary series 30 for 30. All these films are available on Netflix and itunes.
This short animation is merely a preview for a longer animation that the BBC will use in a title sequence for the London 2012 games. It’s a pretty simple idea: showing athletes training around the UK… in a stadium that apparently wraps around the entire country– but what’s particularly nice about the animation is the attention to detail. Everything is gorgeous: the rocks are gorgeous, the diving boards and the caricatural anatomy of the athletes. Direction is by Pete Candeland from Passion Pictures.
Custom artwork for each of Enjoi’s riders (Jose Rojo, Jerry Hsu, Louie Barletta, Nestor Judkins, Wieger Van Wageningen, Cairo Foster and Caswell Berry) that celebrates their individual loves, loathings, artifacts and most importantly: bad habits.
I love how they were ale to pile in so many random objects on each board. Fried chicken, film, condoms, champagne – you name it, it’s in there. It’s kind of fun to pour over each design to see what you can find. And though it may be sacrilege, I think it’d be awesome to see a collection of these on a wall, displayed as pieces of art.