In the span of 30 years, sports documentaries have gone from a niche subject area most broadcasters avoided to must-watch television events. Recent series like The Last Dance, Cheer, and Last Chance U, are immensely popular among sports fans and non-sports fans alike. Sports documentaries are also receiving more critical acclaim than ever before. Three of the last four Oscar winners in the documentary feature category have been sports films — OJ: Made In America (2017), Icarus (2018), and Free Solo (2019). And this year’s Academy Award winner for best documentary short was Learning To Skateboard In A Warzone (If You’re A Girl).
We may be living in the golden age of the sports documentary or just beginning to see the potential of a new form of storytelling. Either way, there are some fantastic sports stories out there.
Here’s our list of our favorite sports docs in no particular order.