15 Sports Documentaries To Stream During The Olympics, From 'Icarus' To 'Venus & Serena'

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There's only a few days of the 2018 Winter Olympics remaining, and if you've been wrapped up in all the sport, spectacle, and drama, it's not going to be easy waiting two full years for the Tokyo 2020 Summer games to come around. To ease your way back into normal, boring, Olympic-free life, now is the time to slowly tear yourself away from the nonstop coverage and onto some readily available streaming content. Here are 15 sports documentaries to watch during the Olympics that will be there for you long after the closing ceremonies.

With fierce competition, individual determination and clearly defined goals, sports and documentaries go together like sequins and ice dancing — a winning combination that dazzles. Some of the docs here focus more on pageantry, like The Fabulous Ice Age's history of ice dancing pizazz and showmanship, or Vision of Eight's different artistic interpretations of the 1972 Olympic games. Others focus on the two-way influence of champions, like I Am Bolt or Venus And Serena, where the sport molded the individual only to have the individuals change the sport forever.

The one thing these documentaries all have in common with the Olympics is that you'll be able to watch athletes at the peak of their strength and agility sweat and struggle while lounging at home in your pajamas. Ah, the sweet thrill of coziness.

1. 'Icarus'


If you're wondering why Russia didn't participate in this year's Olympics, this documentary explains the reasons. Accidentally unraveling a state-sponsored secret while making a documentary on doping, Bryan Fogel captured a scandal in action.

Available on Netflix

2. 'Tokyo Olympiad'

The Criterion Collection

This fully immersive documentary on the 1964 Tokyo Olympics doesn't just take in the athleticism on display, but turns the camera on the city and attendees that complete the Olympic grandeur.

Available on Filmstruck

3. 'Hoop Dreams'

The Criterion Collection

Following the lives of two young boys as they grow into men, this basketball documentary is at turns hopeful and heartbreaking.

Available on Starz, Showtime, Filmstruck and Fandor

4. 'Pumping Iron'

Lionsgate Films

Confidence is key in this look at bodybuilding. Future Hulk Lou Ferrigno faces peak-era Arnold Schwarzenegger in a competition as much mental as it is physical.

Available on Netflix

5. 'I Am Bolt'

Universal Pictures

An in-depth examination of the fastest man in the world as he worked his way to earn the title.

Available on Netflix

6' 'Venus And Serena'

Magnolia Pictures

What happens on the playing field is usually only part of the story. Following the Williams sisters on and off the tennis court, this documentary shows how their athleticism competes with tabloid gossip for attention.

Available on Hulu and Starz

7. 'Winning'

JJ Unlimited Productions

By interviewing five legendary athletes, Winning hopes to find the common secret to their unparalleled success.

Available on Netflix

8. 'The Fabulous Ice Age'

Virgil Films and Entertainment

Outside of competition, ice skating was a major form of public entertainment. This history of touring ice shows covers their attraction and appeal.

Available on Netflix

9. 'Undefeated'

The Weinstein Company

The agony of defeat is matched by the hope and thrill of victory as high school football team the Manassas Tigers turns around years of losses and players' lives to go for the championship.

Available on Netflix

10. 'Ice Guardians'

Sophia Entertainment

Watching at a distance, it's sometimes easy to forget the brutal effort and stamina sports require, especially in fields where looking effortless is part of the requirements. Ice Guardians shows the physical toll of ice hockey "enforcers" as they struggle to keep the role from disappearing.

Available on Netflix

11. '16 Days Of Glory'

The Criterion Collection

This is the behind-the-scenes, inside scoop version of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, captured from all the angles unavailable to spectators or TV viewers.

Available on Filmstruck

12. ' T-Rex: Her Fight For Gold'

Independent Lens on PBS

A champion and coming-of-age story, this boxing documentary follows the life and challenges of Claressa Shields, who won Olympic gold at only 17.

Available on Netflix

13. 'Touch The Wall'

Touch The Wall

Olympic swimmers and good friends Missy Franklin and Kara Lynn Joyce share a goal and good-natured rivalry, showing how competition can spur someone from OK to great.

Available on Netflix

14. 'Visions Of Eight'

Cinema Five

An artistic interpretation of different facets of the 1972 Summer Olympics, from competition to politics to pure physical sport, from eight different filmmakers.

Available on Filmstruck

15. 'Nadia Comaneci: The Gymnast And The Dictator'

Roche Productions

Getting the gold isn't always enough; the overnight fame gymnast Comaneci won meant little once she was back under her country's oppressive dictatorship except pressure to win again. With her nation counting on her, this is the story of an amazing young woman's triumph.

Available on Amazon Streaming

The Olympics are a unique and rare opportunity for the world to come together and engage in sports on a grand scale, transcending yet indulging national boundaries. It's hard to match that kind of intensity, but hopefully these documentaries will tide you over until Tokyo 2020.