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'Wilma' and more Olympic TV biopics

Greg Louganis Won: The gold medal in platform

Greg Louganis
Won:
The gold medal in platform diving at the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles in 1984.
Credit: AP, 1984

The Summer Olympics roll into their first full week, and in the spirit of the Games, we offer you these five TV-movie biopics about Olympians:

1. WILMA (1977) chronicled the life of Wilma Rudolph (Shirley Jo Finney), who overcame childhood polio to become the first woman to win three gold medals at one Olympics (the 1960 Rome Games). The cast included Cicely Tyson as Rudolph's mother, and 22-year-old Denzel Washington, in his first credited role.

2. THE JESSE OWENS STORY (1984) -- Dorian Harewood starred as the African-American track star, who dominated the 1936 Berlin Games, much to Hitler's dismay. But the movie focuses mostly on Owens' post-Olympic life, which was clouded by racial prejudice and a 1965 conviction on tax-evasion charges.

3. NADIA (1984) told the story of the 14-year-old Romanian gymnast who received seven perfect 10s at the 1976 Montreal Games. Gymnastics champion Marcia Frederick performed the stunts. Johann Carlo played the older Comaneci and Leslie Weiner was the younger Comaneci.

4. RUN FOR THE DREAM: THE GAIL DEVERS STORY (1996) told the saga of the runner (played by Charlayne Woodard) who overcame Graves' disease (she almost had her legs amputated) to win a gold medal in the 100 meters at the 1992 Barcelona Games.

5. BREAKING THE SURFACE: THE GREG LOUGANIS STORY (1997) -- Mario Lopez played the Olympic diving star who won four gold medals at the 1984 Los Angeles and 1988 Seoul Games, while hiding his homosexuality and HIV-positive diagnosis.

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