The Bookapitch Blog

5 best sports documentaries

Posted on June 5, 2020 in Entertainment

With the cancellation of live sports around the world, we’re turning to documentaries to get our sports fix.

If you’re looking for some escapism, dive in to our recommendations below.

1. Next Goal Wins

Next Goal Wins’ is not your usual sports film. It focuses on American Samos’s National team, a team labelled the world’s worst football team after their infamous 31-0 defeat to Australia during the 2002 World Cup qualifiers.

We meet as they bid to qualify for the 2014 World Cup. They’ve never won an official international football match and sit bottom of the FIFA World Rankings. They don’t have a lot going for them. A lot of the players are obviously lacking in talent and most are working more than one other job on the side. That’s when tough Dutch coach, Thomas Rongen, arrives in attempt to whip them into shape and improve their fortunes.

Where to watch: YouTube

2. Icarus

It’s safe to say that ‘Icarus’ doesn’t go the way director Bryan Fogel intended. The documentary starts out as an experiment for Fogel as he explores whether he can win an amateur cycling race with the help of performance enhancing drugs. It’s when Fogel links up with Russian scientist Grigory Rodchenkov that the story takes a dramatic twist and Fogel finds himself embroiled in the scandal of Russia’s state-sponsored Olympic doping programme.

Where to watch: Netflix

3. Katie

Katie’ follows champion boxer Katie Taylor as she attempts to rebuild after a year of setbacks that almost threatened to derail her career. After hitting a career low, crashing out unexpectedly in the first round of the Rio Olympics, the notoriously private athlete allows a small crew to document her comeback. It’s a rare glimpse behind the curtain as we follow start over as she moves to the world of professional boxing.

Where to watch: Netflix

4. Undefeated

Undefeated’ won the Academy Award for Best Documentary feature in 2012. Set against the backdrop of a high school football team, we follow three underprivileged student-athletes from inner-city Memphis and their volunteer coach. The Manassas High School team are used to having poor facilities and training equipment and they’ve never made a play-off in their 110 year history. The Documentary gets full-access as the team grapple with events, both on and off the pitch, and attempt to finally break this jinx.

Where to watch: YouTube

5. Breaking 2

Breaking 2’ follows three of the world’s most elite distance runners in their attempt to break the elusive two-hour marathon barrier. The documentary explores the integral role science and innovation plays as Eliud Kipchoge, Lelisa Desisa and Zersenay Tadese undertake months of scientifically advanced training.

We follow them as they complete their rigorous training from wind tunnels to running labs in America, all whilst trying to balance the training with their day-to-day lives at home in eastern Africa. The film culminates with the final, heart-pounding, race in Monza, Italy.

Where to watch: Nike