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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Olympic Series Golden Moments 1920-2002
Olympic Series Golden Moments 1920-2002
Other // Unrated // May 4, 2004
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by David Blair | posted August 30, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie

Today with so much attention focused on medal counts, banned substances, and judging errors, it's easy to forget what the Olympics are really about. It's easy to dismiss the achievements of our greatest athletes when controversies and scandals arise daily. It's easy to let these amazing moments slip from of our memories; these magical moments which define not only the spirit of the Olympic games, but also the magnificent participants who dared to dream. The Olympic Series - Golden Moments 1920-2002 is a window into the past reminding us of these moments, showing us that the Olympic Games are much more than a political stage for our respective countries and world leaders. And it reiterates that when flags and national politics are erased it's really about the athletes and their desire to be the best.

The Olympic Series - Golden Moments 1920-2002 is a three-disc set that gives us six and a half hours of amazing Olympic moments. These moments span the entire spectrum, ranging from events in track & field, cycling, speed skating, even equestrian. And if you're a true Olympics fan you'll appreciate all the achievements featured on this set no matter what your personal preference.

Throughout this set you won't find mushy sentimental profile stories, and you won't have to sit through long and often boring segments you would otherwise care less about. Because each disc is filled with short, narrated video clips of Olympic moments that rarely go longer than three minutes time. The pacing is quick and action constant, so you'll most likely forget you have a forward search button on your remote. But, just in case you want to move past a particular moment, each one is its own chapter, making skipping easy.

However, the briefness of these moments, although greatly appreciated, can be an annoyance as well. I found several instances where I wanted to see the performance in its entirety but was denied because the event took longer than thirty seconds. Instead we're shown tightly edited portions of the event, which in many cases causes us to miss out on the drama and uniqueness of the moment. I suppose this is to be expected, as this is a set about golden moments, not golden performances, but I still would have liked to see certain moments given more screen time than others.

Besides this one personal gripe, this set is fascinating and enjoyable. I caught myself smiling and shaking my head in awe during almost every segment, and it gave me a new appreciation for the relentless hard work these athletes willingly subject themselves to in order to achieve their ultimate goals. I also enjoyed seeing the older faces of some of the athletes during the interviews, and it was interesting to hear their perspective of how the moments unfolded and what it meant to them. In addition, I developed gratitude for the early pioneers of the Games, and found myself asking the question, "If these athletes had the amenities of today, would they be as good as today's athletes?" And my answer, even though world records continue to fall every year, was "most likely."

While every featured moment has its place in the history books, there were still a few that shined brighter than the others, such as Dick Fosbury's legendary gold medal performance in 1968 in which his (then) comical backwards-style leap changed the course of high jumping forever, Romania's Nadia Comaneci and her ground-breaking seven perfect 10's in gymnastic in 1976, Mark Spitz seven swimming Olympic gold medals and seven world records in 1972, and Bob Beamon's seemingly inhuman-like world record leap of 29 feet 2 ΒΌ inches in the long jump in 1968, a record which stood for over twenty years. But if I had to pick one moment that truly defined what the Olympics are all about, my vote goes to the relationship formed in 1936 between black American sprinter/long jumper Jesse Owens and Germany's Lutz Lang. At a time when racism and hatred were at its highest, two athletes from two drastically different cultures developed a forbidden bond, cementing forever in time the true spirit of the Olympic games. They proved that through the love of sport and competition all barriers could be broken, and at the base of every person's soul one can find a commonality of respect and admiration, no matter what the color of their skin.

Here is a breakdown of what you will find on this set:

Disc 1 - The Spirit Of The Olympics
The Olympic Spirit
Vladimir Salnikov - Soviet Union - Swimming, 1500m - 1977 & 1986
Dick Fosbury - U.S.A. - High Jump - 1968
Francisco Fernandez Ochoa - Spain - Slalom - 1972
Colette Besson - France - Athletics, 400m - 1968
Jeff Blatnick - U.S.A. - Grecco-Roman Wrestling - 1984
Lynn Davis - Great Britain - Long Jump - 1964
Yvonne Van Gennip - Netherlands - Speed Skating, 500m/3000m/1500m - 1984
John Akii-Bua - Uganda - Hurdles, 400m - 1968
Kerrin Lee Gartner - Canada - Downhill Skiing - 1992
Billy Mills - U.S.A. - Athletics, 10,000m - 1964

National Pride
Teofilo Stevenson - Cuba - Heavyweight Boxing - 1972
Anthony Nesty - Surinam - Swimming, 100m Butterfly - 1988
Hassiba Boulmerka - Algeria - Athletics, 1500m - 1992
Yukio Kasaya - Japan - Ski Jump, 70m - 1972
Jean Claude Killy - France - Alpine Skiing - 1968
Naim Suleymanoglu - Turkey - Weightlifting - 1988
Felipe Munoz - Mexico - Swimming, 200m Breaststroke - 1968
Paraskevi Patoulidou - Greece - Hurdles, 100m - 1992
Ulrike Meyfarth - Germany - High Jump - 1972
U.S.A. vs. Soviet Union - Ice Hockey - 1980

Emotional Celebrations
Paavo Nurmi - Finland - Long Distance Run - 1920 & 1924
Edwin Moses - U.S.A. - Hurdles, 400m - 1976 & 1984
Nigerian Women's Relay Team - 4x100m - 1992
Greg Louganis - U.S.A. - Diving - 1988
Alberto Tomba - Italy - Alpine Skiing - 1988
Kim Young Nan - South Korea - Grecco-Roman Wrestling - 1988
Brazilian Men's Volleyball Team - 1992
Bruce Jenner - U.S.A. - Decathlon - 1976
Bjorn Dahlie - Norway - Nordic Skiing - 1992
Derata Tulu (Ethiopia) / Elana Meyer (South Africa) - Athletics, 10,000m - 1988

Personal Achievements
Carl Lewis - U.S.A. - Athletics, 100m - 1988
Yasuhrio Yamashita - Japan - Judo - 1980
Irina Rodnina - U.S.S.R. - Figure Skating - 1972, 1976 & 1980
Murray Halberg & Peter Snell - New Zealand - Athletics, 5000m & 800m - 1960
Dawn Fraser - Australia - Swimming - 100m - 1956
Wilma Rodolph - U.S.A. - Athletics, 100m - 1960
Kip Keino - Kenya - Athletics, 1500m - 1968
Ingemar Stenmark - Sweden - Giant Slalom - 1980
Bonnie Blair - U.S.A. - Speed Skating, 500m - 1988
Sohn Kee-Chung (1936) Hwang Young-Cho (1992) - South Korea - Marathon

Disc 2 - The Winter Games
A Winter's Tale
Oksana Baiul - Ukraine - Figure Skating - 1994
Hjalmar Andersen - Norway - Speed Skating - 1952
Hanni Wenzel - Liechtenstein - Alpine Skiing - 1980
Scott Hamilton - U.S.A. - Figure Skating - 1980
Vladimir Smirnov - Kazakhstan - Nordic Skiing - 1994
Billy Fisher - U.S.A. - Bobsleigh - 1928 & 1932
Cathy Turner - U.S.A. - Speed Skating, Short Track - 1992
Phil & Steve Mahre - U.S.A. - Alpine Skiing - 1984
Maurilio De Zolt - Italy - Nordic Skiing - 1988 & 1992
Gordeeva & Grinkov - U.S.S.R./ Russia - Figure Skating - 1988

Winter Superstars
Torville & Dean - Great Britain - Figure Skating - 1984
Lydia Skoblikova - U.S.S.R. - Speed Skating - 1960
Franz Klammer - Austria - Alpine Skiing - 1976
Steffi Martin Walter - East Germany - Luge - 1984
Christa Luding Rothenburger - East Germany - Speed Skating - 1988
Raisa Smetanina - U.S.S.R. - Nordic Skiing - 1976
Ludmilla & Oleg Protopopov - U.S.S.R. - Figure Skating - 1976
Vreni Schneider - Switzerland - Alpine Skiing - 1988
Ard Schenk - Netherlands - Speed Skating - 1972
Matti Nykanen - Finland - Ski Jumping - 1984 & 1988

Winter Heroes
East German Men's Bobsleigh Team - 1988 & 1994
Andrea Mead Lawrence - U.S.A. - Alpine Skiing - 1952
Magnar Solberg - Norway - Biathlon - 1960
Dick Button - U.S.A. - Figure Skating - 1948 & 1952
Jure Franko - Yugoslavia - Alpine Skiing - 1984
Richard "Terry" McDermott - U.S.A. - Speed Skating - 1964
Donna Weinbrecht - U.S.A. - Freestyle Skiing - 1992
Kenji Ojiwara - Japan - Nordic Skiing - 1992
Bill Johnson - U.S.A. - Alpine Skiing - 1984
U.S.S.R. Men's Ice Hockey Team - 1956 & 1972

Salt Lake City 2002
Janica Kostelic - Croatia - Alpine Skiing
Jim Shea - U.S.A. - Skeleton
Chris Witty - U.S.A. - Speed Skating
Great Britain - Curling
Ole Bjorndalen - Norway - Biathlon
Ales Valenta - Czech Republic - Freestyle Skiing
Sarah Hughes - U.S.A. - Figure Skating
Steven Bradbury - Australia - Short Track

Disc 3 - Olympic Highlights
Sydney 2000
Cathy Freeman - Australia - Athletics, 400m
Xiong Ni - China - Springboard
Men's Soccer Team - Cameroon
Australia Swimming Team - 4x100m Relay
Leontien Zijaard - Netherlands - Cycling
Alexei Nemov - Russia - Gymnastics
Rulon Gardner - U.S.A. - Wrestling
Steve Redgrave - Great Britain - Rowing
Haile Gebrsellasie - Ethiopia - Athletics, 10,000m
Felix Savon - Cuba - Boxing

Closeness Of Victory
Sergei Bubka - Soviet Union - Pole Vault - 1988
Herb McKenley - Jamaica - Athletics, 400m & 4x400m - 1948
Olga Korbut - Soviet Union - Gymnastics - 1972
Greg Barton - U.S.A. - Kayak - 1988
Eugenio Monti - Italy - Bobsleigh - 1956 & 1968
Georg Hackl - Germany - Luge - 1992 & 1994
Mark Todd - New Zealand - Equestrian - 1984 & 1988
Otis Davis - U.S.A. - Athletics, 400m & 4x400m - 1960
Connie Carpenter-Phinney - U.S.A. - Cycling Road Race - 1984
U.S.S.R. Basketball Team - 1972

Rivalry
Emil Mimoun & Alain Zatopek - France - Athletics, 500m & 10,000m - 1952
Sebastian Coe & Steve Ovett (Great Britain) - Athletics, 800m & 1500m - 1980
Katarina Witt (East Germany) & Debi Thomas (U.S.A.) - Figure Skating - 1988
Erika Salumae (Soviet Union) & Christa Luding-Rothenburger (East Germany) - Cycling - 1000m - 1988
Horace Ashenfelter (U.S.A.) & Vladimir Kazantsev (Russia) - Steeplechase, 3000m - 1952
Rafter Johnson (U.S.A.) &Yang Chuan-Kwang (Taiwan) - Decathlon - 1960
The D'inzeo Brothers (Italy) - Equestrian - 1956
The Goitshel Sisters (France) - Alpine Skiing - 1964
Brian Orser (Canada) & Brian Boitano (U.S.A.) - Figure Skating - 1988
Daley Thompson (Great Britain) & Jurgen Hingsen (West Germany) - Decathlon - 1984

Crossing The Line
Harold Abraham & Eric Liddell - Great Britain - Athletics, 400m, 100m & Long Jump - 1924
Abebe Bikila - Ethiopia - Marathon - 1960
Shirley Strickland - Australia - Hurdles, 100m/4x100m Relay - 1948 & 1952
Fermin Cacho Ruiz - Spain - Athletics, 1500m - 1992
Peggy Fleming - U.S.A. - Figure Skating - 1948 & 1960
Deiter Baumann - Germany - Athletics, 5000m - 1980
Jackie Joyner Kersee - U.S.A. - Heptathlon - 1988
Chris Boardman - Great Britain - Cycling - 1992
Rosi Mittermaier - Germany - Alpine Skiing - 1976
Spanish Men's Soccer Team - 1992

Breaking The Record
Mark Spitz - U.S.A. - Swimming - 1972
Toni Sailer - Austria - Alpine Skiing - 1956
Johann Olaf Koss - Norway - Speed Skating - 1994
Nadia Comaneci - Romania - Gymnastics - 1976
Irena Szewinska - Poland - Long Jump/4x100m Relay/200m 1964, 1968 & 1972
Vassily Alekseyev - U.S.S.R. - Weightlifting - 1976
Herb Elliott - Australia - Athletics, 1500m - 1960
Kevin Young - U.S.A. - Hurdles, 400m - 1992
Lee Evans - U.S.A. - Athletics, 400m - 1968
Bob Beamon - U.S.A. - Long Jump - 1968

Supreme Achievements
Kristin Otto - East Germany - Swimming - 1988
Erik Heiden - U.S.A. - Speed Skating - 1980
Al Oeter - U.S.A. - Discus - 1956 & 1968
Fanny Blankers Koen - Netherlands - Athletics, 100m & 200m/Hurdles, 80m/4x100m Relay - 1948
Laszlo Papp - Gymnastics - 1952 & 1968
Emil Zatopek - Czechoslovakia - Athletics, 5000m & 10,000m/Marathon - 1952
Birger Ruud - Norway - Ski Jump - 1924 & 1936
Sonja Henie - Norway - Figure Skating - 1924 & 1936
Jesse Owens - U.S.A. - Athletics, 100m & 200m/4x100m/Long Jump - 1936

The Medal Ceremony
Florence Griffith Joyner - U.S.A. - Athletics, 100m & 200m/4x100m - 1988
Dan Jansen - U.S.A. - Speed Skating, 500m & 1000m - 1988 & 1992
Josy Barthel - Luxembourg - Athletics, 1500m - 1952
Linford Christie - Great Britain - Athletics, 100m - 1988
Christl Cranz - Germany - Combined Alpine - 1936
Alberto Juantorena - Cuba - Athletics, 400m & 800m - 1976
Ellen Van Langen - Netherlands - Athletics, 800m - 1992
The Dream Team - U.S.A. - Basketball - 1992


The DVD

Video:
The Olympic Series - Golden Moments 1920-2002 is presented in 4x3 fullscreen and is, for the most part, a passable video transfer. However this is only the case if you are viewing via a smaller tube TV, as pixelation can be awful at times, and jagged boarders run rampant throughout the entire presentation. Thankfully, edge enhancement was not visible, but this wasn't enough to offset the overall less than average transfer.

Keep in mind most of the video clips come from varying sources and range from new to ancient, as some clips were filmed back when motion pictures were first invented. So expect some segments to look better than others. Having said this, I was still amazed to see just how wonderful some of the older moments looked on DVD (on a smaller TV), and I'm certain this is the first time many of these Olympic performances have been transferred to DVD.

I'd strongly recommend against watching this DVD set on a large projection system. However, this set is easily viewable on smaller to average sized tube TV's, as well as some smaller projection sets.

Audio:
Here we're treated with a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound audio track. The 5.1 audio separation capability is wasted on this presentation, as all of the sound comes from the front three speakers. It would have been nice to feel immersed in the crowd's cheers inside the various Olympic stadiums, but unfortunately this is never the case. But, for this type of release, I really have no complaints in terms of the way it sounds. Narration and athlete interviews are easily heard, exactly meeting my expectations.

Extras:
There are no extras features included in this set.

Final Thoughts:
The Olympic Series - Golden Moments 1920-2002 proved to be as much a history lesson as it did a form of entertainment. And if not for this fabulous DVD set, I would have never seen most of these remarkable moments in Olympic history. The brief video clips are easy to watch, and the chapter interface is simple, allowing for quick navigation from moment to moment. If you love the Olympics and you don't mind viewing some of its greatest moments in a Reader's Digest sort of way, this set is for you. Recommended.



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