10 sports documentaries to stream while social distancing
With many people now at home for a few weeks, here are 10 of the best sports documentaries on Netflix and Amazon Prime to keep you entertained.
All or Nothing: Manchester City - Amazon Prime
In 2017/18, Manchester City compiled one of the greatest seasons in English footballing history.
And, for the small price of £10m, Amazon were granted unprecedented access to document their record-breaking season in full.
Prime had previously gained behind-the-scenes access to NFL and college football teams, but this was their first venture into the Premier League.
It does not disappoint – seeing Pep Guardiola at work is worth the watch alone.
Sunderland ‘Til I Die - Netflix
Not to be outdone by their streaming rivals, Netflix’s Sunderland ‘Til I Die is a similarly brilliant fly-on-the-wall look at the ups and downs of top-level football.
Released just four months after All or Nothing, Sunderland ‘Til I Die deals with far more failure than its Amazon counterpart and, as a result, is a powerful piece of television.
By following fans as well as players, the series provides real insight into how the club’s success is interwoven with that of Sunderland as a whole.
If you do find yourself loving season one, Netflix have announced that season two will be released on 1 April.
All or Nothing: All Blacks - Amazon Prime
Not content with conquering football, Amazon’s All or Nothing team have also tackled rugby in this documentary on the All Blacks and their 2017 season.
Narrated by Taika Waititi, this is a fascinating look at a rare year of lows for a team that are, more often than not, invincible.
When you consider how secretive the All Blacks usually are – this is the first time they have allowed outside cameras into camp – the access that Amazon are given may never be repeated.
The Test - Amazon Prime
Amazon’s latest foray into sport does not come under the All or Nothing banner but is a very similar idea.
The Test charts the Australian cricket team’s recovery from the ball-tampering scandal of 2018 to Ashes success in the summer of 2019, with particular focus on coach Justin Langer.
Langer, an Australian cricketing legend, is tasked with implementing changes to the team’s mentality and conduct on the pitch, while also turning their form around.
It consists of eight episodes and is available to stream now on Prime Video.
Icarus - Netflix
Named the Best Documentary Feature at the 90th Academy Awards in 2018, Icarus is a stunning documentary about Russia’s state-sponsored doping programme.
Created and directed by American filmmaker Bryan Fogel, Icarus first follows his own attempts to dope before snowballing into a barely-believable chain of events involving Russian whistle-blower Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov.
It can be seen on Netflix, who acquired distribution rights after the film’s successful premiere at Sundance.
The Dawn Wall - Netflix
In January 2015, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson completed the first free climb of the Dawn Wall of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park in California – a legendary achievement for rock climbers.
The Dawn Wall follows the duo in the build-up to the climb and films their record-breaking 19-day ascent as it happens.
It is available to stream on Netflix.
Losers - Netflix
Instead of focusing on one particular team or event, Netflix documentary series Losers chronicles the ways in which eight athletes recovered from defeat.
Covering the worlds of football, boxing, golf, figure skating, running, curling and sled dog racing, Losers interweaves interviews and animation to tell each story in a beautiful way.
With eight episodes lasting no more than 40 minutes each, Losers is a binge-able series for any sports fan.
Katie - Netflix
Documentaries focusing on a single person can often avoid the tough topics, but Katie does not fall into that trap.
It follows Katie Taylor on the path to her first professional boxing title after a year of setbacks – including a disastrous Rio 2016 Olympic tournament – with a particular focus on her relationship with her father.
It is available to stream on Netflix.
The Game Changers - Netflix
One of the most talked-about documentaries in recent years, The Game Changers explores the benefits of a vegan diet for top-level athletes.
The film follows former UFC fighter James Wilks on his journey to becoming a plant-based athlete, and features interviews with bodybuilders, football players and special forces soldiers, including Patrik Baboumian, Dotsie Bausch and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Netflix film counts Schwarzenegger, James Cameron and Jackie Chan among its executive producers.
Team Foxcatcher - Netflix
You may have seen Steve Carell’s critically-acclaimed portrayal of John du Pont in ‘Foxcatcher’, which was nominated for five Oscars in 2015.
If you haven’t, then start with Team Foxcatcher, which chronicles the American billionaire and wrestling benefactor’s paranoid spiral towards murder.
The Netflix film uses never-before-seen home footage to delve into du Pont’s complicated character, while also memorialising his victim, Olympic champion Dave Schultz.
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