Winning. Documentary by Jacqueline Joseph

This documentary chronicles the roads to success of five world-class athletes. Intending to shed insight on their triumphs, setbacks and philosophies that led them to their victories and success. Tennis champion Martina Navratilova, golf legend Jack Nicklaus, Olympic gymnast Nadia Comaneci, track and field star Edwin Moses and Dutch Paralympian Esther Vergeer candidly discuss their lives and careers. 

Each of them had to overcome obstacles in their youth, including Moses, who wore glasses and braces as a child and whose gangly legs led his schoolmates to call him “Kermit” (as in Kermit the Frog), and Vergeer, who became paralyzed at the age of eight due to complications from surgery. She went on to become a championship wheelchair tennis player and movingly relates how she didn’t let her disability prevent her from aspiring to athletic feats. I found her story deeply moving and motivating. 

Navratilova’s account of how she requested political asylum in the United States early in her career is incredible, she did so knowing that it was the only way to achieve her professional dreams but that it would come at the cost of being separated from her family. She talks about how she was 12 years old when she beat her mum at tennis and realised she would be a success. Moses vividly describes the frustration he felt over not being able to compete in the 1980 Olympics due to the American boycott.

The athletes’ stories are fascinating and insightful.  The film also provides a rich array of interviews with friends, family members and colleagues of the subjects which provides engaging insights. The wealth of old photographs and home movies used delivers fascinating personal touches. The film highlights the importance of great parenting and coaching that cultivates an environment that promotes success and encourages individuals to reach their full potential. 

Winning is on Netflix.

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