Even The World Cup Weary Will Want To Catch This ESPN ’30 FOR 30′ Special

155Airing tonight on the critically acclaimed ESPN series 30 for 30, is the seasonal special 30 FOR 30: SOCCER STORIES: WHITE, BLUE AND WHITE. Directed by CAMILO ANTOLINI, this compelling documentary tells the story of Argentinean footballers OSSIE ARDILES and RICKY VILLA before, during and after their lives and careers were torn apart by the Falklands War. A tribute to the power of patriotism and gamesmanship, the film is a terrific portrait of a pair of athletes who became international symbols of people who just wanted to get on with the game.

Recently, documentarian ALEX GIBNEY spoke at a press conference to promote the ESPN SOCCER STORIES series and addressed the issue of politics intersecting with sports, such as soccer. (CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR FOR AUDIO)

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Posted by Bob Healy

“We Must Go” Spotlights Egypt’s Determined World Cup Quest

We Must Go

With the World Cup in full bloom and worldwide fan support set at a fever pitch, the documentary We Must Go is a perfect complement to one’s soccer obsessed climate. Directed by Dave LaMattina and Chad N. Walker, the project centers on coach Bob Bradley’s determined fight to take the Egyptian National Soccer team to the 2014 FIFA World Cup. If you’re looking for a puff piece on Bradley or a predictable happy ending, We Must Go will turn those expectations on its very head. Diehard soccer fans know Egypt fell short of a World Cup appearance and Bradley is now the coach of Stabaek in Norway.

Winning and losing takes on a different color in Egypt, where politics and soccer are dangerously intertwined. In heartbreaking and even eyed fashion, the documentary also chronicles the Port Said tragedy in which 74 people perished in a soccer match. Dahlia and Yasmine Khouzam, the mother and daughter of one of the individuals killed in the incident, are also interviewed in the documentary.

WE MUST GO“When we came to this film, it was September 2011 when Bob got the job,” said LaMattina. “We (thought) this would be a cool fish out of water story and it was, at that point, just a sports story to us. We never expected that we would include a family who lost a child at a riot at a soccer game”

As much as We Must Go is a story of Bradley’s quest to bring Egypt back to soccer prominence (their last World Cup appearance was in 1990), the project also looks at a country where the fight continues long after the game is over. “What I really love is there are truly intelligent youth out there like Yasmine,” added Walker. “She says in the movie that she’s not talking about revolution or protest. Her journey is that she’s going to become a reporter, and that’s what it’s really going to take – these bright, youthful people, maybe to continue to protest but maybe to get into positions of power where they can make change.”

We Must Go is currently available on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon.

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Gay Athletes: Kurt Warner Looks For a Developing Out Pattern

151Today is a historic day in American sports history. Jason Collins, who plays for the NBA’s Washington Wizards, sat down in an interview with Sports Illustrated and announced that he is gay, making him the first active player in a major American team sport to announce that he is gay.
Collins said, “I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation.” Collins had a lot of support from his fellow NBA Players. NBA great Kobe Bryant tweeted “Proud of @jasoncollins34,” the tweet read, “Don’t suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others #courage #support #mambaarmystandup #BYOU”.

NBA Commissioner David Stern said in a statement, “As Adam Silver and I said to Jason, we have known the Collins family since Jason and Jarron joined the NBA in 2001 and they have been exemplary members of the NBA family. Jason has been a widely respected player and teammate throughout his career, and we are proud he has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue.”

Not surprisingly, there have also been ignorant comments, such as that of NFL player Mike Wallace, current Miami Dolphins Wide Receiver, who tweeted, “I’m not bashing anybody don’t have anything against anyone I just don’t understand it…All these beautiful women in the world and guys wanna mess with other guys SMH…” He quickly took that down and tweeted a new message saying, “Never said anything was right or wrong I just said I don’t understand!! Deeply sorry for anyone that I offended.”

Last week, we spoke to former All Pro and Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner, who is the host of the USA Network show The Moment. He told us that he has no problem with having gay teammates, and that people should never step in the way of sexual orientation. (Click on the media bar below to hear Kurt Warner).

Do you agree with the former NFL great? We applaud Jason Collins and hope that he will be a role model for others who have dealt with hiding who they are.

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Boxers Sugar Ray Leonard & Antonio Tarver Recall Olympic Dreams

145The 2012 Summer Olympics is upon us, as the world is tuned in to see the best athletes shine at their respective sport.  Whether or not the participants win a medal, representing one’s country, as well as simply competing in the Olympics, is a distinct honor.

We spoke to former heavyweight world champion and 1996 bronze medalist Antonio Tarver, who said his biggest career achievement was his successful run in the Olympics.  Tarver is also known for his co-starring role in the movie Rocky Balboa. (Click on the media bar to hear Antonio Tarver)

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Boxing icon Sugar Ray Leonard, a gold medalist in the 1976 Olympics, told us it was one of the proudest moments of his life, and it’s that profound experience which shaped his prodigious career.  (Click on the media bar below to hear Sugar Ray Leonard)

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Gold Medalist Picabo Street Offers Olympic Village Advice To Newbies

ralph-lauren-us-olympics-2012-1-537x402Airing tonight on NBC, THE 2012 LONDON OLYMPICS OPENING CEREMONY promises to provide all the spectacular pomp and circumstance we’ve come to expect from the event that draws over 17,000 participating athletes from all over the world. Directed by filmmaker DANNY BOYLE and expected to draw an estimated global audience of four billion people, the program incorporates musical and dance performances as it introduces athletic teams from 205 countries.
During our recent interview with Olympic gold medalist PICABO STREET (seen here with STARS EARN STRIPES co-stars TOM STROUP and DOLVETT QUINCE), we asked if she had any advice for athletes attending the games for the first time and she was quick to offer thoughts on the distractions of Olympic Village.



The Rock, Dwayne Johnson

The Rock, Dwayne Johnson

“The most electrifying man of all of entertainment is hosting the most electrifying event of all of entertainment!” Dwayne Johnson yelled on Monday Night Raw.

The most overbearing hyperbole in all entertainment is of course WrestleMania XXVII that will grace the airwaves just after April Fool’s Day.

Johnson, who answers to The Rock, who hung up his wrestling leotard for success as a starring actor seven years back is apparently far enough between movies to return to his first love.