The Real Olympics Antony Thomas

If you can't seem to shake that horrible case of Olympic fever you contracted this past August, you may wish to check out this historical overview of the games by the fine people over at PBS. Featuring dramatic reconstructions of legendary Olympic achievements and a lot of sweaty, dirty, muscular men wearing nothing but thongs, The Real Olympics wants to set the record straight by keeping it real and comparing our version of the games to their early days as a sexist, gory, homoerotic spectacle. Featuring dozens of historical experts and professors from across the world, the film does an admirable job of telling it like it is by chronicling the history and significance of the world's largest spectator sports event. It's the kind of film you'd watch in your high school history (or maybe gym) class but it's actually filled with some fascinating information. For instance, did you know that the Olympic Games of Ancient Greece were held every four years and were 800 years old when Jesus Christ was born and continued for four centuries after his death? It's true! When they returned in our modern age, they attracted thousands of people to the city of Olympia, which was the single remote site of the games. The Olympics were also a predominantly sacred event that consisted of five days of worship and animal sacrifice. As the games expanded and carried on however, they had their share of black eyes. Take Hitler's Olympics of 1936, where that crazed mofo tried to connect his ideological beliefs to the tenets of ancient Greece in a shrewd political lie. Did you know that the Nazis invented most of the spectacles we still carry on with at the Olympics today? It's true! The torch relay through the streets, the lighting of the flame in stadiums and even the Olympic Rings logo are all inventions of Hitler and the Nazis. It's fucked up. That and some of the other infamous scandals (i.e., hostages in Munich 1972, Ben Johnson's drug bust, the IOC bribe fiasco in 1998, the bribed figure-skating judges that cost Canada a gold in Salt Lake City, etc.) are touched upon in this incredibly well-balanced and thorough account of the Olympic Games, whose release coincides with their return to Greece in 2004. (PBS/Paramount)