There’s so much more to being a women’s sports fan than watching our favorite athletes dominate at their game. Part of supporting female athletes is understanding their experience through their eyes, and hearing the stories that have shaped who they are today. Our favorite way to gain insight into the lives, experiences, and struggles of our favorite women in sport is through documentaries, and we have a top tier list to share with you. So, we suggest you sit down with a bowl of popcorn, a drink of choice, and a few of your closest buddies and get into the thick of it.
1) Kicking things off with a classic and a prime example of the power of female athlete excellence: The ‘96 Effect. This 3-part docuseries celebrates the events of the 1996 Summer Olympics by marking the point in history where the world first began to view women as legitimate athletes. Whether or not you’re familiar with the ‘96 games, this documentary beautifully captures the beginning of women coming together to fight for equality, viewership, and support. If you’re reading this blog, it’s safe to assume you are a member of that fight, so we recommend you watch The ‘96 Effect.
2) This next documentary is a newbie, but it hits so close to home that it has already made it to our list of first-round picks: LFG. Starring none other than a few USWNT legends themselves; Megan Rapinoe, Sam Mewis, Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelly O’Hara, and Jess McDonald; this 2021 film gives us an unfiltered look inside the team’s ongoing fight with the USSF for equal pay. LFG was a true emotional rollercoaster; but beyond our shock, frustration, and a perpetual clenched fist, we finished this doc with a newfound respect for the entire team. When it comes to the whole situation, let’s just say: disappointed, but not surprised.
3) Last but not least, we have a documentary that is becoming more and more relevant each day: Simone vs. Herself. This film highlights the impact that gymnastics has had on Simone Biles’ mental and physical health, and deep dives into what it really means to be perceived as the Greatest Of All Time. It is an incredible and real portrayal of athlete mental health, and in light of recent events, shows that setting personal boundaries is acceptable at any level. Simone’s withdrawal from the 2021 Olympics gymnastics events shows a level of strength and self-awareness that will hopefully inspire many other athletes to respect their limits and know their boundaries despite immense pressure. We’d give it aaaa...solid 10/10, no questions asked.
On that note, it looks like it’s time to turn on the TV and start that movie marathon. For some of our favorite snack recs, check out our Olympics watch party blog; and to stay up to date on all things female-athlete-greatness, follow us on Instagram @goalfive! In the spirit of Megan Rapinoe, let’s f**king go.
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