The Ecstacy of Sculptor Steiner
dir. Werner Herzog, 1974, 45 minutes
This 45-minute feature takes a look at the life of champion ski-jumper Walter Steiner, who also carves out a career for himself as a carpenter. Director Werner Herzog shoots Steiner as he breaks the world ski-jumping record in Yugoslavia in 1974, while also highlighting his unusual wooden sculptures, and allowing time for Steiner to muse on his life and career. Herzog beautifully captures this odd character as he soars through the Yugoslavian skies, while also painting him as a daredevil whose regular dalliances with death on the slopes are a pointed contrast to his off-slope career.
Double Davis (2006)
dir. Kees Jongkind, 46 minutes
This award-winning film, made by Dutch channel NOS, about longtrack speedskating champion Shani Davis from Chicago, first aired in 2006. Shani (a Swahili name picked by his father meaning ‘light’ and ‘weight’) was the first black speedskater to earn a spot on the Olympic Team in 2002 and was the first skater to make all three World teams in the same season winning medals at all three events. In 2009-2010, he broke two world records (1000m and 1500m), won Gold and Silver in the 2010 Olympic Winter Games -- becoming the first speedskater to repeat as Olympic 1000 m Champion -- and he won his third consecutive Overall World Cup Titles in the 1000 and 1500 meters.