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olympic athletes

Relive the 2012 London Olympics with a “FIRST” of Its Kind Sports Documentary

Written on June 3, 2013 at 2:15 pm , by

Caroline Rowland at the London Olympics for FIRST film

“I fell a little in love with every one of the athletes featured in FIRST,” Director Caroline Rowland says. Photo courtesy of New Moon.

If you thought the buzz about the London Olympics ended last summer, we have news for you: There’s a brand-new sports documentary that chronicles the journey of 12 first-time Olympians, including Americans Missy Franklin and John Orozco. Aptly titled “FIRST: The Official Film of the London 2012 Olympics” the two-hour film is a real treat for anyone who enjoys the emotional personal stories, montages set to killer soundtracks, and gripping recaps that accompany the Olympics. Last Thursday, select theaters screened the film, but you can watch it on NBC on July 27 or buy the DVD here.

During the Olympic Games in London, Caroline Rowland—the film’s director and the Executive Creative Director of New Moon—was granted special access to exclusive areas by the International Olympic Committee. Here she shares some behind-the-scenes insights into her behind-the-scenes film.

Why do this film now, instead of four or eight years ago? What makes this the right time to film and release FIRST?

CR: Throughout the history of the modern Olympic Games, each Games has been immortalized on film. But the London 2012 Olympic Games made a specific commitment to inspiring a generation—so it’s fitting that FIRST focuses on young people and their transition into adulthood through their experience of being an elite athlete at their first Olympic Games.

What were some of the biggest challenges in creating/filming FIRST?

CR: It’s always challenging to film at major sporting events, but the challenges of creating a feature film—using the technology and approach that would typically be used in a more controlled environment— certainly kept the entire production team on their toes!  Between 26 sports, 10,500 athletes, hundreds of thousands of spectators, and unpredictable outcomes…it was all challenging.  But at the heart of it were 12 superstars who kept us all immersed in the experience and we were able to confront everything that was thrown at us.

What were your favorite parts in creating/filming FIRST?

CR: Having the opportunity to be at the London 2012 Olympic Games for 17 days, 17 hours a day, at the heart of the action was unforgettable.  I fell a little in love with every one of the athletes featured in FIRST. Getting to know them ahead of their events meant that I had a very special interest in their performances.

What do you think this film means for the athletes in it, as well as other Olympians?

CR: Several of the athletes in the film have commented on how the film has given them a prism through which to see their own Olympic experience, after they emerged from the most heady and defining experience of their young lives.  FIRST is the sort of story that any athlete—amateur or professional—can relate to. It is about triumph and adversity and the very human experience of being vulnerable in the face of unseen forces.

What’s the one takeaway you hope the audience will get, upon watching the film?

CR: I hope that FIRST is an uplifting, inspirational film that reaffirms all the things that make it incredible to be human—and specifically, an athlete.

FITNESS had a chance to screen the film and we loved it! So make sure to tune in on July 27…and in the meantime, we’re going to try and hunt down some of the songs from the fab soundtrack! For more info, like /OlympicsFilm on Facebook.

Thank You, Internet, for The Best Olympics Coverage Ever

Written on August 13, 2012 at 2:35 pm , by

For the past couple of weeks, you could say there were two groups of people: Those who watched the Olympics and those who followed the Olympics. Not all watchers were followers, but it’s safe to say most followers were probably watchers as well. And while some of the followers may have been bored (or irate) by the tape delays that aired on NBC prime time, they still had front row seats to some unprecedented online action. Even if you weren’t on nbcolympics.com trying to catch the live streams, it was impossible to miss the amazing shenanigans happening all over the web.

Just a few favorites:

Bolting

Dangleboris

The Gifs! 

McKayla is Not Impressed


And then there was Twitter. If you’re like us and wanted to truly participate in the play-by-plays, it was probably your go-to spot. There were more than 150 million (!) Twitter conversations about the Olympics since the Opening Ceremonies. There were more than 2 million tweets about Gabby Douglas, as well as Ryan Lochte, and it wasn’t uncommon to see celebrities tweeting at Olympians or about them:

 

 

So. While it’s lovely that NBC broke their ratings – averaging 31+ million watchers each night — we kinda expected that, especially if you’re getting a ton of free, user-generated promotion around one of the most beloved events in the world. What’s genuinely exciting is that this year’s overall activity by outlets, spectators, and athletes was just a taste of what’s to come. By 2016, there will be even more followers instead of basic watchers, and coverage of the Olympics will be more integrated (rather than trying to straddle both old school TV practices and new media trends). As a digital director at a fitness magazine, I’m pretty pumped for 2016. I’m thinking 2012 was just a warm-up!

But until then: Thank you, Internet, for making these Olympic Games so ridiculously fun.

Body Confidence Tips from Olympic Weight Lifter Sarah Robles

Written on August 1, 2012 at 10:27 am , by

Sarah Robles Olympic Weightlifter

Photo by Mitchell Haaseth / NBC Olympics.

“Faster, Higher, Stronger.” “Faster, Higher, Sarah Robles.” Because if you want a synonym for “stronger,” look no farther than the 23 year-old U.S. weightlifter.

It’s not just that she’s technically the strongest woman in our country—Robles will compete for her place on the international podium on August 5th—but it’s the other challenges that have shown the world just how mentally tough this girl is. In the weeks leading up the Games, many of us learned about her financial struggles…and were thrilled to see the online community cheer her on.

But no amount of money, medals, or media attention changes the fact that the 5’10”, 275-pound, 23 year-old has had to overcome a few body issues. On behalf of every woman in America, I’m just gonna go ahead and say that’s where I think her most enduring, admirable strength truly lies. Here, a few questions and answers with the Olympian.

FITNESS: How did your life change when you began accepting your shape and body type?

SARAH ROBLES: My life changed for the better when I decided to be okay with who I am. I knew I wasn’t going to change, nor really could do much about it anyway. I cared more about being the best athlete. It didn’t matter what my body looked like, it mattered more to me how it performed.

FITNESS: What are your best confidence-boosting tips for other women?

SARAH ROBLES: First, stop caring about what other people think. They probably aren’t thinking what you think they are, and most likely, you’ll never see them again.

Next, surround yourself with positive people. Negativity is sticky. It sticks to you and is hard to get rid of. Once you do (find those positive people), you will feel clean, happy, and free!

Lastly, do things you really love or try new things. You never know what you can be good at unless you try. When you learn new skills or further develop the ones you have, you will be more confident.

FITNESS: Which athletes or celebrities do you relate to the most? On a related note, who are your role models? Read more

Behind-the-Scenes Scoop From the Olympic Archer Who Trained Katniss for The Hunger Games

Written on August 1, 2012 at 9:32 am , by

Lorig has Olympic gold in her sights. (Photo by Teresa Iaconi)

Fewer than 500 people have competed in five different Olympic Games. Among them: 38-year-old archer Khatuna Lorig, who carried the flag for the U.S. at the 2008 closing ceremony. Lorig’s other claim to fame? Training Jennifer Lawrence, who played Katniss, to look authentic using a bow and arrow in The Hunger Games film adaptation (which is available on DVD and digital download on August 18).

We caught up with the accomplished athlete, who is currently ranked fourth after the women’s individual ranking round, to learn more about her quest for gold and what it’s like to train a tribute.

How does it feel to be competing in your fifth Olympic Games? What does training look like leading up to the competition?

It feels great!  Typically, we train from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. with an hour for lunch. Since we’re getting to the last minute, we do about four hours a day now.

What qualities make for a medal-worthy archer?

You need a very strong upper body. Women usually use bows that weigh 43 or 44 pounds, while men use 49-pound or heavier bows. I use one that weighs 47 pounds.

Wow, that sounds intense to be lifting that during all of your training and competitions! Do you cross train to build strength and stay in shape?

Any free weight exercises for shoulders and arms are great, but I like to make sure I work my legs and heart too. I lift for about an hour, then finish with two or three miles of running. And of course a soak in the jacuzzi!

To find out about a fun mutual admiration society between Lorig and Lawrence, click below.

Read more

Fit Links: Summer Survival Guide and Olympic Inspiration

Written on July 6, 2012 at 1:01 pm , by

Don't sweat it! (Photo by Laura Doss)

This week’s fit links from around the web: