Moments of poetic athleticism
August 13, 2009 11:54 AM   Subscribe

Help me find video clips that capture athleticism at its most poetic.

I'm looking for highlights that show an amazing shot, pass, turn, catch, jump, evasion, save that would appeal visually to a non-expert. No cringe-worthy injuries, sports oddities or bloopers, please. I want to help students get over the intimidation factor of reading literature by proving that while it helps knowing a little about the ground rules, you don't have to be an expert to pick up on the grace - excitement - power that makes one segment stand out from the rest of the "story." The tension of what's at stake can heighten the viewer's appreciation of a moment, or perhaps the moment is lyrical purely on its own. A little context for the clips would be really helpful, too.
posted by woodway to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (38 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

Willie May's with his Catch. Here is a good view. Here is a slightly longer version.
posted by Pants! at 12:05 PM on August 13, 2009

I've posted this before, but it's apropos: Olga Korbut, 1972. Apparently, what she does in the clip is no longer allowed, but man, it's so great. Almost as good is hearing the announcers' reactions.
posted by Skot at 12:24 PM on August 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Here's the most popular Michael Jordan highlight video on Youtube. Some of them definitely fit your description.
posted by Perplexity at 12:28 PM on August 13, 2009

Bo Jackson's combination of speed, power, and agility was simply astounding.
posted by Flunkie at 12:38 PM on August 13, 2009

Perhaps Rammstein's Stripped music video, about classic Olympic athleticism.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:39 PM on August 13, 2009

Derek Jeter's flip
posted by Flunkie at 12:50 PM on August 13, 2009

Kerri Strug's vault
posted by Flunkie at 12:55 PM on August 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

Eli Manning pass to David Tyree, Super Bowl XLII

Sam Hornish Jr. passes Marco Andretti on the final lap of the 2006 Indianapolis 500.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:01 PM on August 13, 2009

Bud Greenspan is as much a part of the Olympics as the rings and the torch. He's been filming award-winning documentaries of the Olympics for decades, always capturing the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat and the simple satisfaction of participation. A YouTube collection of Greenspan Olympics snippets.
posted by netbros at 1:12 PM on August 13, 2009

Lassi Viren, a Finnish athlete, fell down half-way through the 10k race in Munich in 1972, yet he got up, caught up with the lead, won the race and broke the world record. He also won the 5k race that year and went on to win both the 5k and 10k again in 1976.

Video, in English, if a bit fuzzy. He was quoted as saying "Thinking about it later I've begun to ponder something: it would have been the perfect time to give up and no one would have given it a second thought. But I didn't."

He is, understandably, something of a Finnish icon. A living embodiment of perseverance or 'sisu'.

Not sure if watching guys run in a circle for 20 odd minutes is quite the image you want to make, however...
posted by slimepuppy at 1:14 PM on August 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Tiger Woods chipping in at the 2005 Masters
posted by andrewraff at 1:23 PM on August 13, 2009

Here is a great picture of Secretariat from the race mentioned above.
posted by Flunkie at 1:25 PM on August 13, 2009

He is moving like a tremendous machine. Secretariat at the Belmont Stakes, 1973. The horse ran each quarter of the race faster than the previous one. He won by 31 lengths. Possibly the greatest athletic achievement of the 20th century.

Also worth googling: Bob Beamon's long jump in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, where the shattered the world record by more than a FOOT, in a sport where records are measured in fractions of an inch.

On preview: damn, I'm too slow!
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:25 PM on August 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh, and:

Diego Maradona, 1986 World Cup.
posted by Doofus Magoo at 1:29 PM on August 13, 2009

I'm not even much of a fan of basketball, but I love the "One Shining Moment" montage that CBS Sports has been doing at the end of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament every year since 1987. (Google Video Search · YouTube Search) You can probably pull quite a few out of there.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:30 PM on August 13, 2009

Ali knocks out Sonny Liston in the first round, 1965. Ali was an underdog in this fight. It was widely supposed that Liston (a rather unsavory fellow) was going to beat him to a pulp. Ali (I guess he was still Cassius Clay, then) taunted Liston unmercifully in the press. He showed no fear. He never let on that, as he said in an interview after Liston's death, "Sonny Liston scared me to death." The fight ended so quickly many thought Liston had thrown the bout. This fight marked Ali's emergence as the pre-eminent heavyweight boxer of his time.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:45 PM on August 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

The Stripped video above is, IIRC, a collection of clips from Leni Riefenstahl's documentary Olympia. If you can get hold of a decent copy (and if the whole, um, Nazi thing doesn't bother you), that's the ne plus ultra of poetic athleticism. Searching YouTube will likely turn up lots of clips.
posted by Joey Bagels at 1:50 PM on August 13, 2009

Not even in competition, but Reiner Klimke and Ahlerich riding the victory lap after winning gold in dressage in 1984. See how the horse is skipping? Those are one-tempi flying changes of canter lead. They are absurdly, joyously good.
posted by rdc at 1:51 PM on August 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

ESPN Greatest Sports Moments of the 20th Century. I watch this once a week, probably.
posted by vito90 at 1:54 PM on August 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Caroline Zhang, figure skater, with her signature move 'The Pearl' spin in slow motion.

Her head is the 'pearl' with her arms and legs as the oyster shell as she bends backwards. Oh, and spins.

"It's just wonderful to witness the impossible, isn't it?"
posted by Chorus at 2:04 PM on August 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

barry sanders
posted by domino at 2:27 PM on August 13, 2009

It's staged, but this Chemical Brother's video (directed by Spike Jonze) showcases a nice gymnastics set.
Again, staged, but still some incredible grace. It's hard to make good fencing look good on TV.

It's not athletics, but it is sport: here's the setup and the amazing comback. Not only did Ken perfectly block every single attack, he then countered with a special series of moves that utterly destroyed his opponent.
posted by now i'm piste at 3:44 PM on August 13, 2009

While the following story and video are not exactly for what you asked, sportsmanship and empathy certainly has a place when inspiring new students.

Division II softball players carry opponent around the diamond. (Video but read the article first).

Athleticism at its most poetic? Maybe. Poetry within athletics? Surely.
posted by BigBwana at 4:10 PM on August 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

And1 Mixtape for sure......or the 720 dunk by The Air Up There
posted by jasondigitized at 4:41 PM on August 13, 2009

I've got to put in a plug for Vova Galchenko.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 6:20 PM on August 13, 2009

It seems ridiculous to talk about it as an example of athleticism, but I've found Ronnie O'Sullivan's fastest 147 in televised snooker history absolutely spellbinding. (A 147 is a perfect run in snooker.) Crazy.
posted by argybarg at 7:44 PM on August 13, 2009

probably not what you want but I did love World Record from The Animatrix
posted by Redhush at 7:59 PM on August 13, 2009

I don't have any background info on this, but here is a pretty amazing catch. It's a good example of an unlikely hero(ine). I absolutely love the crowd's reaction.
posted by Eumachia L F at 8:17 PM on August 13, 2009

Eumachia — fake. Ad for a sports drink.
posted by argybarg at 8:45 PM on August 13, 2009

In a recent mixed martial arts bout, Toby Imada was losing and taking a lot of shots. His opponent, Jorge Masvidal, started to scoop him up for a takedown (after which he would have been on his back, probably in Masvidal's control) when he slipped to Masvidal's back. Masvidal lifted him up for a slam anyway, but Imada pulled off an inverted triangle choke (he was hanging upside down with his legs around the opponent's neck) to win.
posted by ignignokt at 9:30 PM on August 13, 2009

Dammit! I had a hunch but I didn't follow through and verify. That'll teach me.
posted by Eumachia L F at 11:06 PM on August 13, 2009

ignignokt - crazy, thanks for that...
posted by vito90 at 11:27 PM on August 13, 2009

Carey Price's backwards stick save.
posted by louigi at 8:58 AM on August 14, 2009

This jaw-dropping muscle-up to an L sit. Amazing strength and control. I don't know about the rest of the routine, but that initial muscle up floors me every time.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 10:43 AM on August 14, 2009

Response by poster: Thank you for all of the great links. I love you, MetaFilter.
posted by woodway at 4:35 PM on August 14, 2009

An excerpt from Sprinters, a British documentary. Documentary as visual poetry.
posted by Bobby Bittman at 10:20 PM on August 14, 2009

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