Episode 16. The Dream *Teams* of the 1992 Olympics

During Olympics season 2021, Truly The GOATs takes a look at the Greatest Of All-Time who starred in the modern Games. In this series-within-the-series, TTG presents the stories of superstars from the 1928, 1972/1976 and 1992 Olympics. This is the third, a review of three movies about men’s basketball at the ’92 Games.

Between the 1988 and ’92 Olympic Games, a massive geopolitical shift seismically altered international sport and nowhere were the changes more evident than in Olympic men’s basketball.

Most international fans inevitably associate the 1992 Games with The Dream Team, that 12-man squad assembled from the superstars of the NBA’s own golden age. But at least two other teams were loaded with the pride of their countries – and they were nearly as awesome to watch as was the GOAT Team USA.

We’re talking about Team Croatia and Team Lithuania here, two sides that didn’t exist a year before the Barcelona game and both with storied histories of players starring for other countries’ national teams.

On this episode of Truly The GOATs, we’ve got reviews of documentaries focusing on each team:

• The Dream Team (2012), NBA TV’s 20th-anniversary production slick with highlights and (some) inside dope on what Marv Albert called “the greatest team ever assembled”.

• Once Brothers (2010), an episode of ESPN’s first series of “30 for 30” documentaries on the dissolution of the nation of Yugoslavia and that of the splintering a top national team.

and The Other Dream Team (2012), an independent film chronicling both the long history of basketball (and basketball fanaticism) in the story as well as breakthrough stars Sarunas Marciulionis and Arvydas Sabonis joining the NBA and the long strange trip Team Lithuania had to make before even getting to Barcelona.

Truly The GOATs: Still loving the Olympic Games – is that so wrong?

Music used in this episode includes “Sport Brake” and “Dream Team” by Sergio Quadrado, used with Attribution Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License via FreeMusicArchive.org; Mozart’s “Requiem in D Minor” piano arrangement by Ferenc Liszt, in the public domain via Musopen.org; and “Dark Star Rebuild” by Kaleidoscope Jukebox, used by permission of Kaleidoscope Jukebox.

Episode 15. Vasily Alekseyev of the Soviet Union

Vasily Alekseyev

During Olympics season 2021, Truly The GOATs takes a look at the Greatest Of All-Time who starred in the modern Games. In this series-within-the-series, TTG presents the stories of superstars from the 1928, 1972/1976 and 1992 Olympics. This is the second, the story of Vasily Alekseyev of the USSR.

Of all the phenomena of the 20th-century history, few are as untranslatable as the Cold War mentality, a pervasive social paranoia that stunted cultures worldwide through self-imposed isolationism. One exception to the cultural blackout was sports and the metaphorical battlefields of the Olympic Games.

And all of the figures that now non-existent countries of the so-called Communist bloc such as the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, none was quite so impressive or attention-grabbing as the heavyweight weightlifter Vasily Alekseyev, perhaps the only true international sports celebrity the USSR ever produced.

To talk the legend of Alekseyev, as well as Cold War era sports and the future of weightlifting is the Sports History Network’s own Mark Morthier of the Yesterday’s Sports podcast. As a former competitive lfter who’s written books on weight training and 1970s America, what better guest could we get?

Truly The GOATs: Still loving the Olympic Games – is that so wrong?

Music used in this episode includes “Cold War ” by Kai Engel and “Impudence” by Vadim Lankov; both are used with Attribution Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License via FreeMusicArchive.org.

Episode 14. Hitomi Kinue: Sports pioneer, Olympic sensation

During Olympics season 2021, Truly The GOATs takes a look at some the Greatest Of All-Time who starred in the modern Games.

In this series-within-the-series, TTG presents the stories of superstars from the 1928, 1972/1976 and 1992 Olympics. This is the first, the story of Kinue Hitomi of Japan.

The 1920s was quite the boom period for sports in general and by the 1928 Olympic Games this general worldwide appreciation for organized sport had extended into women’s games, particularly in countries whose citizens were just beginning to come to grips with women voting.

Onto the international stage at those games, the first to allow women’s track-and-field events, came Kinue Hitomi of Japan. Hitomi was literally a one-woman team for Japan at those games and her fame snowballed in international sports media for the years to come. An early golden age of women’s athletics was blooming rapidly, and Kinue Hitomi was one of the world’s biggest stars.

Everything was set for instant history at Los Angeles Olympics until fate intervened…

Truly The GOATs: Still loving the Olympic Games – is that so wrong?

Music used in this episode includes “Cuba Moon” by Carl Fenton’s Orchestra, “Crazy Blues” by the Mamie Smith, and “Streetlife” by Lobo Loco. The first two are in the public domain, the last used with Attribution Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License via FreeMusicArchive.org.

TTG EXTRA – interview w/author & historian Michael Foley

For episode 13 of Truly The GOATs, we we privileged to have on the show Michael Foley, who as a journalist, author and podcaster is a real triple threat in the sports history world.

Michael is sports editor/writer for the Sunday Times Irish edition and a member of the Gaellic Athletic Association’s History & Commemorations committee, most recently acting as a driving force behind the GAA’s Bloody Sunday commemorations.

As an author, Michael has written Kings of September, winner of the 2007 Irish Sportsbook of the year prize and The Bloodied Field, based on the events of Bloody Sunday, 1920. He’s also ghostwritten the autobiography of Gaellic Football manager Mickey Harte.

In short, Michael was the perfect guest to speak with Truly The GOATs about Irish sport.

Naturally, not everything in TTG’s interview with Michael made it into episode 13 and so here runs the full unexpurgated conversation on Ireland’s sports past, present and future

TTG EXTRA — interview with sportswriter Emmet Ryan

Episodes 12 and 13 of the Truly The GOATs podcast included excerpts from an interview with Emmet Ryan, sportswriter, journalist and old compadre from TTG host Os Davis’s days of European basketball reportage.

Emmet is the author of the book I Like It Loud: A basketball tour through Europe, but he was invited on the show to talk Ireland’s national sports of hurling and Gaellic football. Emmet and Os do talk hurling and Gaellic football, certainly, and some basketball – and also American football, Canadian football, rugby, cricket, boxing…

Enjoy this ride down the stream of sports consciousness, Os’s unexpurgated interview with Emmet…

Episode 13. Ireland’s GOAT Dual Players

Truly The GOATs’ current infatuation with Irish sport continues. The previous TTG episode on hurling summarized some 3,100 years or so of the history of hurling, ancient game of the Celts, and concomitantly the whole of Irish history. That story took us up to late 19th century, that great period of codification of modern sports.

So with the ruling elite importing and pushing organized soccer, rugby, cricket and the like, what’s a repressed country seeking to foster cultural revival to do? Make their own sport, of course!

The result was Gaellic football, a unique member of the football family tree, and the creation of the “Dual Player,” a national hero who starred in Ireland’s emblematic sports of hurling and Gaellic football.

Joining Truly The GOATs to talk about some great dual players of the early-, mid- and late 20th century is Sunday Times journalist and Gaelic Athletic Association committee member Michael Foley; rejoining the show is sportswriter/journalist Emmet Ryan, who piqued Os’s interest in hurling so much as to necessitate an additional episode on the Gaellic sports.

We’ve got the stories of national heroes who just happened to be dual-sport superstars, discussion about the Gaellic equivalent of Bo Jackson and the sad reality that such GOAT-level dual athletes are likely an extinct species in the 21st century…

Truly The GOATs: Kiss me – I’m (an) Irish (sports fan)!

Music used in this episode includes “The Land of Luck” by Spectacular Sound Productions; “Gravel Walk” by the Rosen Sisters; “Roads that Burned our Boots” by Jahzzar; and “This Ain’t House” by Simon Mathewson. Used with Attribution Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License via FreeMusicArchive.org.

TTG EXTRA – On hockey, hurling and “Puck of the Irish”

Truly The GOATs episode 12 was devoted to the Irish sport of hurling and its interconnectedness with Ireland, but how can one summarize 3,000 years of myth & history in any decent amount of time?

In this extra edition of Truly The GOATs, we talk origins, specifically those of Canada’s national pastime: Did the Irish actually invent hockey’s evolutionary predecessor? And what does it mean if they did?

Aron Harris of the Sports History Network’s Football Odyssey podcast joins Os Davis to review the 2017 documentary Poc Na nGael (“Puck of the Irish”), a movie that explores the deep connections between hurling and hockey as well as the Irish influence on Canada’s national sport.

Truly The GOATs: The newest fan of hurling…

To stream Poc Na nGael (Puck of the Irish) online, visit the TG4 official website at tg4.ie or click here.

Poc na nGael opening teaser from Éamonn Ó Cualáin on Vimeo.

Music used in this episode includes “Went to Fight and a Hockey Game Broke Out” by Jared C. Balogh. Used with Attribution Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License via FreeMusicArchive.org.

Episode 12. Hurling: Myth and/or history of Europe’s ancient sport

What started as a “simple” look by an unsuspecting American at the GOAT two- (or more) sport stars of Ireland – particularly those of hurling and Gaellic football ­­– instead ballooned into researching over 3,000 years of Irish myth and history on the game of hurling alone.

Back when folks in Mesoamerica were just getting interesting ideas about putting rubber balls into vertical hoops, the Celts were already playing an intricate sport involving equipment and agreed-upon rules (albeit incredible variable rules).

Truly The GOATs’ conclusion: To recount the history of hurling is to tell the history of Ireland – and really, the  most important chapters in European sports history as well. Ready for a long, strange trip in sports history? Guest sportswriter/journalist Emmet Ryan joins Truly The GOATs’ quest to find a GOAT amid three millennia plus of hurling in Ireland.

And here’s a non-spoiling spoiler: Irish sportswriting of the 18th century is awesome.

Truly The GOATs: The newest fan of hurling…

Music used in this episode includes “Funeral Battle” and “I’ve Not Fear” by Damiano Baldoni; “Beyond the Warriors” by Guifrog; “Guardians”, “Streets of Sant’ivo”, and “Land of a Folk Divided” by Mid-Air Machine; and Orbiting the Hurley, a DJ Dream Joker remix of “Orbiting the Earth” by Ultracat. Used with Attribution Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License via FreeMusicArchive.org.

Extra — Full interview with Denis Crawford, author of “the Life and Teams of Johnny F. Bassett”

Episode 11 of the Truly The GOATs podcast included excerpts from an interview with author Denis Crawford. Denis has to date written three books based in part at least on professional football in Tampa, Florida. His third and most recently released is the autobiographical work The Life and Teams of Johnny F. Bassett, the subject of which was also the focus of TTG #11.

In this extra edition of Truly The GOATs, a mostly unexpurgated version of the TTG interview with Denis in which he discusses in-depth Johnny Bassett’s “successful failures,” his rogue leagues, his tug-of-war with one Donald J. Trump over the ultimate fate of the Untied States Football League and the legacy of a rogue franchise all-timer…

Episode 11. The GOAT Sports Showman of the 20th Century

With the evolution of sports, sports broadcasting and the ever-crazier sums of money associated with sports in the 20th century, entertainment became synonymous with the games themselves. And few entrepreneurial sorts were more imaginative in delivering entertaining sports product that Johnny F. Bassett.

On this episode of Truly The GOATs, we discuss the P.T. Barnum of 20th-century sports with Denis Crawford, author of the biography The Life and Teams of Johnny F. Bassett. Can someone who never played a single minute of professional sports be considered one of the most influential forces in recent sports history? Denis makes the case for a maverick who took on Canadian politicians, America’s biggest leagues and, inevitably, Donald J. Trump…

Truly The GOATs: We love a good rogue sports league…

Excerpts from The Life and Teams of Johnny F. Bassett were used by permission of McFarland Publishing

Music used in this episode includes “Rare Bird” by Tab and Anitek; “Acquisition” and “Outlandish” by Anitek; and “Spy” by Eddy. Used with Attribution Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License via FreeMusicArchive.org.