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Three photos side by side. First is a man standing my a window. Second is a female swimming athlete standing by the pool. Third is a female gymnast with her hands in the air(THE CANADIAN PRESS)

TV shows and docs to watch to learn more about Team Canada athletes

It’s always exciting to watch Team Canada athletes compete around the globe. But it’s also fascinating to discover more about their daily lives, the significant events of their past, and what they do behind the scenes of their sport.

To help satisfy your curiosity about some of your favourite athletes, here are a few suggestions for content that might interest you:

Up in the Air

Up in the Air is a documentary that follows members of Canada’s women’s gymnastics team on their journey to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. It provides a rare behind-the-scenes look at their struggles and triumphs as they trained and prepared.

This CBC Gem documentary features Ellie Black, Brooklyn Moors, Shallon Olsen, Ana Padurariu, Ava Stewart, Rose-Kaying Woo and Victoria Woo

Available to watch here.

Max – Life As A Gold Medal

PyeongChang 2018 silver medalist Max Parrot‘s life changed dramatically in December 2018 when he was diagnosed with cancer. The snowboarder was forced to step away from the sport while he underwent chemotherapy for six months against Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Throughout the process, he documented difficult times, both physically and emotionally, as well as times when he had to show mental strength and resilience. The documentary is an emotional watch, full of rich detail into Parrot’s journey.

Available to watch here.

Now back in competition as a medal contender in the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games, Max Parrot wants to inspire everyone with his determination and enjoy every moment he spends on his snowboard. 

If So, Do So

Being a three-time Olympic bobsledder isn’t easy for anyone, but Christopher Spring pursues his dreams while living out of his van. The Canadian pilot invited CBC into his home on wheels for this candid and intimate documentary detailing his time on the road during the World Cup circuit. As we follow his journey to success, we learn that it’s also a journey to find happiness.

Watch ‘If So, Do So’ here.

Inside an Athlete’s Head

Inside an Athlete’s Head gives unprecedented access to the thoughts, anxieties, and obsessions of some of Canada’s compelling Olympic athletes through unique and stunning cinematography.

This CBC Gem original series features Jesse Lumsden, Erica Wiebe, Melissa Humana-Paredes, Kaetlyn Osmond, Spencer O’Brien, Krista DuChene and many other Canadian Olympic athletes.

Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis months before Sochi 2014, snowboarder O’Brien needed to augment her physical toughness with a new level of mental toughness. Watch her story unfold below.

Watch all the episodes here.

CBC Sports Presents

This series was created in anticipation of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. It features five documentaries about Canadian Olympic athletes who competed in Tokyo. It focuses on the challenges that make these athletes resilient and driven towards a golden finish line in Tokyo, while highlighting their dreams and previous successes on the international stage.

This series features Tokyo 2020 Olympic athletes Mike Woods, Jennifer Abel, Meaghan Benfeito, Annie Guglia, Penny Oleksiak and the women’s rugby team.

Available to watch here.

Bad Sport – Episode: Gold War

Bad Sport is a docuseries in which true crime and sports intersect to examine global controversies and scandals with firsthand accounts from those who were involved. One specific episode, entitled Gold War, focuses on the judging scandal that erupted during the pairs figure skating event at Salt Lake City 2002 when one judge was allegedly pressured to place a Russian duo higher than the Canadian pair of Jamie Salé and David Pelletier.

This hour long episode began streaming on Netflix on October 6, 2021.

It was expected that the battle for gold between Salé and Pelletier and Russians Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze would be tight. After the short program, it basically came down to whichever team won the free skate would win the gold medal. In the long programs, the Canadians had no noticeable errors while Sikharulidze had a slight miss on the landing of his double Axel. But when the scores were revealed, the Canadians were in second place on a 5-4 judges’ split which was stunning to most observers.

The scandal gained steam when French judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne told another official she was pressured to favour the Russians as part of an exchange that would benefit the French ice dance team later in the Games. The International Skating Union and International Olympic Committee investigated and announced that Salé and Pelletier would be upgraded to become co-gold medallists.

Gold medalists David Pelletier and Jamie Sale stand next to Russians Anton Sikharulidze and Elena Berezhnaya as they show off thier gold medals Sunday Feb. 17, at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. (CP Photo/HO/COC/Andre Forget)

This documentary gives voice to the athletes who were unwillingly involved in this controversy, as well as to several American, Canadian and Russian experts, who lived it up close. We can see a preview of this episode’s content 50 seconds from the video below.

READ: History of Team Canada Olympic medal upgrades

Absolutely Canadian – Episode: The Relay

On August 3, 1996, four sprinters made Canadian history by bringing home the Olympic gold medal in the 4x100m relay event in front of 85,000 spectators in Atlanta.

This episode of Absolutely Canadian puts the gold medal won by the Canadian relay quartet at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games in context. Bruny Surin, Robert Esmie and Glenroy Gilbert review their state of mind before the legendary race, speak to the rivalry that reigned with the American team and their performance which has now become history.

Even though we know how it ends, it’s a race that we never tire of watching! The relay is available on CBC Gem here.

And because we want to share everything we know about this legendary gold medal, we might also suggest this Team Canada Rewind that features four-time Olympian Bruny Surin.