Skip to main content
Original Issue

Milestone Marks

On May 6 ESPN Classic will air The Barrier Breakers, a
brilliant documentary produced by Olympic chronicler Bud
Greenspan. The show tells the stories behind three of the
greatest sporting achievements of the 20th century: Roger
Bannister's 1954 sub-four-minute mile, Edmund Hillary's ascent
of Mount Everest in 1953 and Gertrude Ederle's becoming the
first woman to swim the English Channel in 1926. Greenspan
shows both the athletic and the social significance of each
achievement. Ederle, for instance, swam the channel faster than
any man had--and did it six years after women were given the
right to vote in the U.S. The footage is spectacular, and the
interviews from the athletes are heartfelt without being
schmaltzy. --S.P.