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Television and the Olympics

Thursday, July 8, 2004

New YorkNY and Los AngelesCA—This summer, The Museum of Television & Radio will present Television and the Olympics, a series of screenings, seminar events, and a gallery exhibit that will examine the role of television and its impact on the Olympic Games. As early as the 1936 Games, television has enabled viewers to collectively experience the athleticism, spirit, and emotion of the world's ultimate sporting event. Over the years, the medium and the Games have evolved together: major competitive events are now scheduled for prime time, athletes are celebrated "up close and personal," and participating nations gain worldwide exposure. Today, television not only captures, but often creates, the pageantry, drama, and iconic Olympic moments. 

With a comprehensive collection of programs and advertisements from the time radio and television began up to the present, the Museum is able to do what no other institution can. Drawing from this collection, Television and the Olympics will feature screenings that celebrate the work of Olympic filmmaker Bud Greenspan, documentaries that highlight Olympic moments from the past seventy years, footage from the 1984 Los Angeles Games, and more. The series will also include a world premiere at the New York Museum of Showtime's Bud Greenspan Remembers: The 1984 L.A.   Olympics.

The Museum's seminar program offers a scholarly study and provides a critical public forum for the interpretation and analysis of media and their significance in our culture. Television and the Olympics seminars will explore topics such as the Olympics and national identity and remembering the Los Angeles 1984 Summer Games, as well as events in both Los Angeles and New Yorkwith Bud Greenspan. Panelists will include athletes, journalists, and historians. Although some panelists are officially a part of the USOC and the IOC, they are not participating in the Museum's programs in any official capacity. 


The Museum of Television & Radio will present the following seminars:

New York 

·Special Premiere Screening: Bud Greenspan Remembers: The 1984 L.A. Olympics

Thursday, July 15, 6:00 p.m. in New York

In Person:  Bud Greenspan, Frank Deford

The Museum will premiere the latest work—a look back at the 1984 Games—by Bud Greenspan, acclaimed sports historian, filmmaker, author, and television producer. Greenspan has produced the official films for seven Olympic Games, and is known for his humanistic approach to filmmaking. The film will have its broadcast premiere on Showtime on July 19, 2004. 

  • The Olympics on Television:  The Impact on National Identity

Thursday, August 5, 6:00 p.m. in New York

The seminar will explore the intersection of media, the Olympics, and national identity.


Susan Bachrach (Author, The Nazi Olympics: Berlin 1936 and Curator of Special Exhibitions, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)

His Excellency Mr. John Dauth (Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations)

Michael Pearl (Executive Producer and Senior Vice President of Production, ABC Sports)

George Roy (Copresident, Black Canyon Productions)

Tommie Smith (1968 Olympic Gold Medalist)

Additional panelists to be announced. 

Los Angeles

  • It Was 20 Years Ago Today: A Look at Television and the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles

Monday, July 19, at 7:00 p.m. in Los Angeles

A look back at memories from 1984: the highlights, the logistical challenges, the boycott by the Eastern bloc, China's return for the first time since 1932. What did these Olympics mean to the country then, and how do we view them now? What did they say to the rest of the world about America?


Anita de Frantz (Rowing '76; President of the Amateur Athletic Foundation and Member, International Olympic Committee)

Bill Dwyre (Los Angeles Times Sports Editor)

Peter Ueberroth (Managing Director of Contrarian Group and Former President, Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee)

David Wolper (Veteran Television Producer and Producer of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1984 Olympics)

ModeratorJohn Naber (Swimming '76; President of Naber & Associates) 


Screenings in New York will be Tuesdays to Sundays at 1:00 p.m. and in Los Angeles Wednesdays to Sundays at 1:00 p.m.

The 1972 Munich Olympic Games: Bud Greenspan Remembers

New York: July 1–July 11

Los Angeles: July 1–July 11

Deftly weaving archival footage and interviews with many of the significant organizers, participants, and witnesses, Greenspan examines the terrorist attacks and murder of eleven Israeli athletes and coaches at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. While focusing on the tragic events, the documentary also includes some of the Games' memorable achievements, including performances by Olga Korbut, Mark Spitz, and Dave Wottle. 

Sydney 2000 Olympics: Bud Greenspan's Gold from Down Under

New York: July 13–July 18

Los Angeles: July 14–July 18

Greenspan presents some of the powerful and resonant stories of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. Among the athletes profiled are American baseball players Ben

Sheets and Doug Mientiewicz and their coach Tommy Lasorda; Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe and American swimmer Gary Hall; track and field competitors Michael Johnson and Stacy Draglia of the United States; and cyclist Leontien Ziljaard of theNetherlands. 

Bud Greenspan's Favorite Stories of Olympic Glory

New York: July 20–July 25

Los Angeles: July 21–July 25

Greenspan examines the Olympic feats and legends of five extraordinary athletes: Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci, American decathlete Dan O' Brien, Australian swimmer Duncan Armstrong, Ethiopian marathon legend Abebe Bikila, and Russian wrestler Alexander Karelin. 

Bud Greenspan Remembers: The 1984 L.A. Olympic Games

New York: July 27–August 1

Los Angeles: July 28–August 1

This HBO-produced documentary explores the 1968 Summer Games, when track stars Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists in a show of "black power" unity during the medal ceremony. 

Games of the XXIII Olympiad

New York: August 3–August 8

Los Angeles: August 4–August 8

An ABC-produced tape of the memorable moments of the 1984 Los Angeles Games. 

:03 From Gold

New York: August 10-August 15

Los Angeles: August 11-August 15

Documentary on the 1972 U.S.-U.S.S.R. basketball game in Munich. 

Fists of Freedom: The Story of the '68 Summer Games

New York: August 17-August 22

Los Angeles: August 18-August 22

Documentary on the "black power" salutes in Mexico City. 

Spirit of the Games

New York: August 24-August 29

Los Angeles: August 25-August 29

A lyrical exploration of the "golden age" of the Olympics, from the turn of the century through the 1950s, relying heavily on home movies. 


In conjunction with the screenings and seminars, The Museum of Television & Radio in Los Angeles will present two extraordinary private collections of Olympics memorabilia, including rare pieces from the first modern Olympics in 1896 through the 2004 Games, notably the 1932 and 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. The exhibit will also include an extensive array of pins, medals, and other unusual pieces. Available to the public for the first time, the collections are on display in the Museum's Bell Family Gallery on Wednesday through Sundays until August 29, 2004. The exhibit is made possible through the generous support of Gordon and Dona Crawford. 

Admission to Television and the Olympics screenings is included with the Museum's suggested contribution: Members free; $10.00 for adults; $8.00 for senior citizens and students; and $5.00 for children under fourteen. Admission is free in Los Angeles. Tickets for Television and the Olympics seminars are available in the Museum lobby during regular hours or by calling (310) 786-1091 inLos Angeles and (212) 621-6600 in New York. Tickets are $10.00 for general public; $8.00 for Members, senior citizens, and students.  

The Museum of Television & Radio, with locations in New York and Los Angeles, was founded by William S. Paley to collect and preserve television and radio programs and advertisements and to make them available to the public. Since opening in 1976, the Museum has organized exhibitions, screening and listening series, seminars, and education classes to showcase its preeminent collection of over 100,000 television and radio programs and advertisements and to provide a critical forum for the interpretation of these media and their significance in our society. Programs in the Museum's collection are selected for their artistic, cultural, and historic significance.

The Museum of Television & Radio in New York, located at 25 West 52 Street in Manhattan, is open Tuesdays through Sundays from noon to 6:00 p.m. and until 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays. The Museum of Television & Radio in California, located at 465 North Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, is open Wednesdays through Sundays from noon to 5:00 p.m. Both Museums are closed on New Year's Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Suggested contribution: Members free; $10.00 for adults; $8.00 for senior citizens and students; and $5.00 for children under fourteen. Admission is free in Los Angeles. The public areas in both Museums are accessible to wheelchairs, and assisted listening devices are available. Programs are subject to change. You may call the Museum in New York at (212) 621-6800 or in Los Angeles at (310) 786-1000. Visit the Museum's website at