The Winter Olympics on VHS -- Memorable moments from past games

The Winter Olympics on VHS

Memorable moments from Winter Olympics past live on these videos. Chill and thrill!

The Olympiad Series: Great Moments at the Winter Games (1979)
Writer-producer-director Bud Greenspan is the poet laureate of Olympic filmmaking, and the Olympiad series is his magnum opus. Equal parts social and athletic history, the segments on this tape are uniformly well-researched, tightly focused, and seamlessly edited to flesh out individual performances and events with telling details. Narrated with low-key urgency by David Perry, this exemplary overview of the Winter Olympics, which began in 1924, highlights familiar superstars as well as lesser-knowns. Among the latter: Swedish cross-country skier Sixten Jernberg, winner of nine medals in 1956, ’60, and ’64 (including four golds); and U.S. hockey goalie Jack McCartan, who had been cut from the 1960 Olympic squad and came back to help that team win its astonishing gold medal. B+

The Olympiad Series: Those Who Endured (1980)
Greenspan excels at finding great stories among low-profile Olympians, and while his studiously erudite script here sometimes borders on overripe melodrama, it never fails to engage and illuminate. Endured profiles four winter Olympians who lost at the Games (some several times) before they won, including Norwegian biathlon gold medalist (1968, ’72) Magnar Solberg, who discloses that he acquired the concentration his event (a combination of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting) demands by lying atop an anthill and ignoring the inhabitants as he practiced his shooting. A

The Olympiad Series: The Immortals (1980)
Their achievements ”live through the generations,” reads the typically effusive Greenspan script, but it’s hard not to get a little carried away when treating such outsized individuals: Norwegian figure skater Sonja Henie, winner of three con-secutive golds (1928, ’32, ’36) and the most commercially successful post-Olympic champion of her time; Norwegian ski jumper Birger Ruud, who won gold medals in 1932 and ’36,was imprisoned by the pro-Nazi Quisling regime during World War II, and came back to win a silver medal in the ’48 Olympics; and American bobsledder Billy Fiske, a millionaire socialite who won a bobsled gold at age 16 in 1928, and who, while flying with the RAF in 1940, became the first American pilot killed in the war. A

The Other Side of the Mountain (1975)
U.S. slalom champion Jill Kinmont didn’t make the 1956 Olympic ski team because she suffered a crippling fall on her final qualifying run. Director Larry Peerce and wife Marilyn Hassett (who plays Kinmont) recreate the skier’s story — she returns to be a teacher-in a memorable, effective tearjerker that ably presents the struggle of a world-class athlete suddenly deprived of the physical skills that had previously defined her existence. Beau Bridges costars as Kinmont’s skier boyfriend. B

Miracle on Ice (1981)
Millions of Americans still get weak- kneed and teary-eyed recalling the inspirational gold-medal triumph of the 1980 U.S. hockey team at Lake Placid. The dramatic upset galvanized a nation watching it unfold on network TV over a single weekend: The Americans vanquished the heavily favored Soviets 4-3 on Friday evening, then on Sunday afternoon beat the Finns, who were also heavily favored, 4-2. This TV movie (which makes use of ABC’s game coverage) stars Karl Malden as U.S. coach Herb Brooks, and watching Andrew Stevens and Steve Guttenberg trying to make like hockey players is itself faintly chilling. But the on-ice action is the real thing, and the thrills have not diminished a bit. B-