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Original Issue

Film Study

Sports docs hit the silver screen

THIS YEAR'S Tribeca Film Festival offered an impressive slate of 13 feature-length and short sports documentaries. Mainstream sports like football, baseball and basketball were represented, but it was fringier pursuits—bareback horse jockeying, bullfighting, classic car racing and senior marathons—that were the heart of the festival. SI names its best tales of the tape.

Best performance by a four-legged star: Palio

The world's oldest horse race, held in Siena, Italy, is a contest of Machiavellian tactics as much as horsemanship. In this enthralling tale of one jockey's rise, the only uncorrupted competitors are equine.

Best toss around the horn: Gored

Antonio Barrera, the most gored bullfighter in modern history, decided to hang up his cape at 36. With dramatic ringside footage, this story of the matador's last bullfight becomes a gripping meditation on mortality.

Most driven competitors: Havana Motor Club

The racing spirit of a ragtag group of Cuban gearheads is contagious as they prep for Cuba's first sanctioned auto race since 1960, all while keeping their sport—and a rainbow fleet of classic American cars—alive.

Isaac Newton Award: Fastball

An examination of the most exciting 396 milliseconds in sports aims to solve a big query: Who threw the hottest heater ever? Kevin Costner's narration and colorful figures such as Goose Gossage make physics fun.

Best athlete in a tutu: A Ballerina's Tale

This account of trailblazing dancer Misty Copeland's rise (she and her killer calf muscles starred in an Under Armour ad) makes it clear that she's every bit the "athlete-artist" director Nelson George calls her.

Muggsy Bogues Award for best short film: Every Day

Joy Johnson didn't pick up running until she was 59, but she kept at it until the end, finishing 25 NYC marathons. This bittersweet 12 minutes had the grown man in the seat next to me weeping into his popcorn.


The South Carolina legislature approved the purchase of a jet by Clemson's athletic department for recruiting.