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A scene from the 1993 film Cool Runnings. Photo: Handout

Winter Olympics: 10 films to get you ready for the Beijing Games, from ‘Cool Runnings’ to South Korean classic ‘Take Off’

  • Starring the likes of John Candy, Hugh Jackman and Ha Jung-woo, here are some of the best Winter Games movies around
  • From underdogs to top dogs, there’s something for everyone in our picks ahead of the Beijing 2022 Olympics

Olympic athletes put their minds and bodies on the line for years just to make it to the Games – competing at the world’s biggest sporting event is no easy task, with many challenges and setbacks along the way.

So it’s no wonder their journeys make for such compelling stories on the big screen.

Ahead of next month’s Beijing 2022 Winter Games, the Post has ranked some of our favourite winter sports films that tell stories of athletes and their coaches defeating the odds to achieve their Olympic dreams.

Cool Runnings (1993)

What’s not to love about the idea of a team from Jamaica competing at the Winter Olympics? Throw in the comedy genius that was John Candy, and you have yourselves an instant classic

The film follows the story of an unlikely team in less than ideal training circumstances, who still manage to make it to the 1988 Winter Olympics against all odds.

After Derice Bannock (Leon Robinson), a Jamaican sprinter, fails to qualify for the 1988 Summer Olympics, he sets his mind on the Winter Games. He convinces the dishonoured coach Irving Blizter (Candy) and his friend Sanka Coffie (Doug E Doug), a pushcart derby champion, to help him start Jamaica’s first bobsleigh team – a notion which draws derision from their countrymen and rivals alike

The fan favourite film shows audiences how with teamwork and determination anyone can feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, and achieve the unlikeliest of goals.

Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman in “Eddie the Eagle” (2016). Photo: Handout

Eddie the Eagle (2016)

Before he was Elton John in Rocketman, Taron Egerton gave an equally impressive performance as Michael “Eddie” Edwards, who in 1988 became the first competitor to represent Great Britain in Olympic ski jumping since 1928.

Eddie is a notoriously tenacious underdog, who goes through unconventional means of training with his eccentric coach, Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman), to prepare and condition for the event.

The British Olympic team disliked Eddie, to say the least, as they believed his attitude was improper and his lack of experience meant he would be an embarrassment.

Also starring Christopher Walken and Jim Broadbent, Eddie The Eagle is a feel-good film which will get you rooting for the underdog when the Games begin next week.

Miracle (2004)

Miracle is an American film about the United States men’s ice hockey team who, led by their coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell), won the gold medal at the 1980 Winter Olympics.

The American team beat the heavily favoured Soviet team in the medal round in a game since dubbed the “Miracle on Ice”.

At the time the US hadn’t won since 1960 and the Soviet team were four-time defending gold medallists – not to mention Canada, Finland and Sweden all had strong teams.

The film focuses on coach Brooks and his task of assembling a team strong enough to represent the USA and bring home gold.

Take Off (국가대표) (2009)

Becoming the second bestselling movie in South Korea the year it was released, Take Off centres around a ski jump team hastily put together to represent Korea.

After a small South Korean county prepares itself to host the 2002 Winter Games, the International Olympic Committee questions how Korea could host an Olympics without a national ski jump team.

Following this, there is no turning back as athletes from across Korea are pulled together to form an Olympic-ready team.

The film, which stars Ha Jung-woo, is inspired by the true story of Korea’s first combined ski jump team, who competed in the Nagano 1998 Olympic Winter Games.

The cast of “Run Off” (국가대표2) (2016). Photo: Handout

Run Off (국가대표2) (2016).

Run Off is inspired by true events surrounding the formation of the first women’s ice hockey team from North and South Korea. The film was created as a sequel film to Take Off.

It follows the story of how the team’s members were scouted from across different walks of life, such as a short track speedskater, a former figure skater and a North Korean defector.

The unlikely members come together to form Korea’s first female national hockey team who competed at the 2003 Asian Winter Games.

Margot Robbie in “I, Tonya” (2017). Photo: Handout

I, Tonya (2017)

I, Tonya is the American biographical black comedy about figure skater Tonya Harding and her connection to the 1994 attack on her rival Nancy Kerrigan.

The ice skater is on the rise to fame but things begin to take a turn for the worst when her ex-husband re-enters her life.

The film is shot in a mockumentary-style that often breaks the fourth wall, leaving audiences to wonder what is real and what is merely a version of Harding’s imagination.

At the 90th Academy Awards, actress Allison Janney, who plays Harding’s mother LaVona Golden, won Best Supporting Actress. The film also earned nominations for Best Actress and Best Film editing.

Jackson Yee has hosted the popular Chinese reality television show “Ice Hockey Hero”. Photo: Getty Images

Ice Hockey Hero (2019)

Ice Hockey Hero is a 13-episode Chinese reality television show hosted by popular singer Jackson Yee and his fellow actor Lei Jiayin.

The two hosts act as the managers and team leaders of a children’s ice hockey programme.

Yee and Lei train with the 14 young children across 60 days, cultivating them into a spirited ice hockey team.

The show was launched to promote the budding sport in China and encourage audiences to learn more about other snow and ice sports.

Red Army (2014)

Red Army is an American-Russian documentary film about the Soviet Union national ice hockey team seen through the eyes of the team captain Slava Fetisov and the famed 1990s five-man unit known as “The Russian Five”.

The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014.

It captures the link between sport and politics, and the Soviet team’s dominance of the game during the 1970s and 1980s. It particularly highlights the ruthless tactics of coach Vikto Tikhonov.

Robert Redford (far left) starred in the 1969 film “Downhill Racer”. Photo: Paramount Pictures Corporation

Downhill Racer (1969)

Downhill Racer is a sports drama based on the novel of same name by Oakley Hall.

The film, which stars Robert Redford and Gene Hackman, is about an upcoming downhill skier, David Chappellet, who joins the United States ski team in international competitions.

Chappellet is a strangely cut-off person, incapable of feeling anything in depth except for the exhilaration he experiences when he wins. Unlike most rags-to-riches sport clichés, Downhill Racer captures the image of athletes who are the best and know it; who make no effort to mask their arrogance.

Here we get to see not a movie about competition but rather an intimate take on the athlete themselves.

The Crash Reel (2013)

The Crash Reel is a documentary film featuring 20 years of sports footage that captures the rivalry between snowboard champions Kevin Pearce and Shaun White. The film follows Pearce’s near-fatal 2009 crash and later comeback.

At the time he was favourite to win gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics. The documentary details his journey to recovery, particularly the initial five months he spent in hospital, with his older brother by his side every step of the way. It took two years after the incident for Pearce to get back on a snowboard.