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Now that the Olympics are officially over, you may be experiencing some competition withdrawals. All of a sudden your life is void of record-breaking performances, gold medal ceremonies, acts of athletic god by Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps, Bob Costas’ soothing voice, and all the sexiness of Rio.
2011’s Warrior, directed by Gavin O’ Connor and starring Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, and Nick Nolte is an MMA themed martial arts movie, where a long-standing brotherly feud is finally resolved in the octagon. This is a gold medal winner because it’s got both the martial arts action of three Bruce Lee movies, and, the ability to make grown men cry.
1982’s Personal Best, directed by Robert Towne and starring the stunningly beautiful Mariel Hemingway is based on the real-life story of a track and field star who prepares for the 1980 Summer Olympics but (spoiler alert!) ends up dropping out. This one wins gold not for its winning, but for its ability to tug at your heart-strings.
The Mighty Ducks
1992’s movie The Mighty Ducks, directed by Sam Weisman is about a Ragtag bunch of kids who get a hockey team together with the help of their passionate coach (Emilio Estevez). Why it wins gold: because it’s the greatest long-shot film ever – and who doesn’t love seeing the underdog win?
This 1978 film directed by Donald Wrye, starring Robby Benson and Lynn-Holly Johnson is about a young Olympic hopeful figure skater that ends up becoming blind in a freak accident. Why it’s a gold medal winner: because she ends up competing anyway, nailing her routine – even while tripping on a rose thrown by the crowd – only to be carried off by her supportive father. It was so inspiring that it actually had pre-teen girls back then wishing they were blind
The Bad News Bears
This 1976 baseball movie directed by Michael Ritchie features another bunch of ragtag kids, this time coming together to form an underachieving baseball team. The Bears end up losing the championship (just barely), but still win the gold as far as sports movies go because of their effort and resolve. Think of this film as a prequel to The Mighty Ducks – except it’s baseball instead of Hockey.
Chariots Of Fire
1981’s Chariots Of Fire, directed by Hugh Hudson is set in the 1920’s and is about two British men, both divided by class and religion, competing to win gold in track. Why it deserves gold: because of the famous scene where a bunch of guys run on the beach in slo-mo, set to the most effeminate music ever, which inspired an endless mount of parodies.
1993’s Rudy, directed by David Anspaugh is based off the true-life story of Rudy Ruettiger (played by Sean Astin), a football hopeful whose chance of making the Notre Dame team are slim-to-none, but triumphs in the end. This film is far-and-away a gold medal winner, because at the end, Rudy not just makes the team, but gets in the game, sacks the opposing team’s quarterback which wins the game for them – to which he’s then carried off the field.
A League Of Their Own
1992’s classic, A League of their Own, directed by Penny Marshall and starring Tom Hanks and Geena Davis, is about an all woman’s baseball league that is formed when all the men go off to fight in World War II. Why it’s a gold medal winner: Because woman rock! Women playing baseball is amazing. And you’re a feminist, right?
1976’s Rocky, directed by Rocky himself – Sylvester Stallone – is the ultimate underdog, as he’s a no name blue-collar boxer who gets the opportunity to take on the champ in a major publicity stunt. Why it wins gold: Because Rocky not only takes the champ to the final round, shocking the world in film – but also shocks the world in real-life as the movie won the Oscar that year, beating out such films as Taxi Driver, Network, and All The President’s Men.
1986’s Hoosiers, directed by David Anspaugh is about failed college coach Norman Dale (played by Gene Hackman) who gets the chance to redeem himself by being given the opportunity to coach a small Indiana town’s high school team. Why it’s a gold winner: Because when it comes to stories of down-on-their-luck underdogs winning – this one’s without flaws.