February 9th is the opening of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in Pyeonchang, South Korea. The best of the best in multiple winter sports will come to show what they can do, and hopefully walk away with a medal.If you are waiting patiently to see what the world will produce and want to get into the sports mindset a little early, here are my top five Disney movies that will help get the Olympic juices flowing.
Is there any other movie that will ignite patriotism in your heart as you cheer on the 1980 American Men’s Hockey Team as they claim the gold medal at the Lake Placid Olympics? Nope. Miracle is the pinnacle of not only excellence in sports films, it also captures the heart of how much a miracle it was that the United States won that year. Led by Kurt Russell playing famed hockey coach Herb Brooks, it doesn’t matter what country you come from; you are on the edge of your seat as you watch this amazing moment in history come to life.
A Jamaican bobsled team — that’s the whole focus of this movie. A team of four Jamaican athletes set about competing in the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics while first thought of as a joke and written off for the fact that there was no way they could compete in the harsh sport. Cool Runnings is an excellent example of the heart of an athlete. It didn’t matter where they came from, all that mattered was they wanted to compete and found a way. Watch for a subtle supporting role by John Candy. Well known for his comedic abilities, Candy plays the disgraced manager with heart and soul that embodies the ability to believe in someone.
Casey Carlyle is a high school dreamer who wants to pursue her interest in figure skating. Unlike her mother’s hopes of going to Harvard, Casey wants to become a champion figure skater. Played by Michelle Trachtenberg, Casey without a doubt embodies everyone who has ever dreamed of sports success. While not an Olympic movie, the sport of choice in Ice Princess is figure skating, and as you watch the world competitors try for a gold in either men’s, women’s, pairs, or ice dancing, Ice Princess will give you another look at the world of figure skating with sweet wholesomeness that Michelle Trachtenberg displays.
Goofy: The Olympic Champ/ Goofy: The Art of Skiing
You can’t watch Disney movies about the Olympics without including some classic cartoons. Goofy is the star of both cartoons, and while The Olympic Champ is about the history of the Summer Olympics, it still counts because it's still the Olympics. The Art of Skiing comes from those hilarious instructional cartoons as Goofy models how to do something. Both are amusing, and short at just over seven minutes.
The Forgotten Miracle
The Forgotten Miracle is not a Disney movie. I think it should be included in this list because it’s about the men’s American hockey team winning gold at the 1960 Winter Olympics. Why is this relevant to a Disney film list? Walt Disney was the Chairman of the Pageantry Committee for the 1960 Winter Olympics. His influence on those Olympic games extended to the opening and closing ceremonies, the organization of the games itself, as well as the redesign of the Olympic torch. The men’s American hockey team won gold for the first time at these Olympics. What also makes this documentary special is that Herb Brooks, played so perfectly by Kurt Russell in Miracle, was the last player cut from the 1960 team. This would make an excellent film to pair with Miracle.
If you are as excited for the opening ceremonies of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in Pyeonchang, South Korea as I am, then you will want to take the five days prior to the games and watch these movies. They will help set the mood for the competition to come, they’re fun to watch, and connect with the history that will unfold at the upcoming Olympics.
Check them out either on Netflix, YouTube, or iTunes.