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Olympic Filmmaker Bud Greenspan Dies

Film Director Bud Greenspan died at home in New York City on December 25, 2010. i i

Film Director Bud Greenspan died at home in New York City on December 25, 2010. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Film Director Bud Greenspan died at home in New York City on December 25, 2010.

Film Director Bud Greenspan died at home in New York City on December 25, 2010.

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Prolific sports filmmaker Bud Greenspan died of Parkinson's disease at his New York City home on Christmas Day. He was 84. The New York Times reflects on his work, including the massive 1976 production 'The Olympiad', which stretches 22 hours and required years of research to tell stories of famous athletes and the lesser known. On Greenspan's website, a former U.S. Olympic spokesman says the filmmaker 'did more than any individual to bring the personal stories of Olympians into households around the world'.

One of the most compelling: Tanzanian marathoner John Stephen Akhwari, who had fallen and injured his leg during the 1968 Mexico City Games, and arrived at the finish line long after the other competitors. From the Times:

When Mr. Greenspan asked him why he continued to the end, Mr. Akhwari was incredulous at such a question. “My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race,” Mr. Greenspan often recalled him saying. “My country sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race.”

Citing Mr. Akhwari’s courage, Mr. Greenspan told The San Francisco Chronicle, “Sometimes the essence of the Olympic Games can be found in people who don’t stand on the victory podium.”

Greenspan has won several Emmy awards, a Peabody and the Olympic Order Award; he was an author and producer of spoken word albums.

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