The Olympic Games are the most inspiring sporting events of our time, but they’re more than gold and glamor. To celebrate International Olympic Day and the approach of Japan 2020, we list the most mysterious, inspiring and uncompromising Olympics-themed documentaries you’ll ever see.

Where will the Olypmics take you?

To the harsh extremities of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, in the midst of a cyberattack? Into the aspiring lives of Olympic athletes? Or into the midst of one of the Olympics’ biggest doping scandals? To celebrate the world’s most inspiring sporting competition, we’ve compiled a list of Olympics-themed documentaries that will have you on the edge of your seat

Icarus (above)


On Netflix

Directed by Bryan Fogel

When Bryan Fogel set out to make a documentary about doping in sports, it’s fair to say even he didn’t imagine how incredible his findings would be. On his journey, Fogel is put in touch with the head of an anti-Russian doping program, who soon becomes an international whistleblower harboring shocking information about the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.

Top Spin


On Amazon Prime

Directed by Mina T. Son and Tina Newens

Three American table tennis proteges have their sights set on the ultimate prize – the 2012 Summer Olympics. Top Spin is a fascinating and well-crafted look at adolescent life and the pressure of elite sports.

The Last Gold


On Amazon Prime

Directed by Brian T. Brown

How much do you know about the 1976 US Women’s Olympic relay swim team? This is your chance to brush up on their incredible story, at the highest level competing against opposition using performance-enhancing drugs.

Olympia: Festival of Nations


On YouTube

Directed by Leni Riefenstahl

Okay, so this one’s in black and white, just to manage your expectations. But what it lacks in VFX and million-dollar budgets, it makes up for in raw cinematographic pleasure. This is a real gem from director Leni Riefenstahl, celebrating the human form through modern Olympians.

I am Bolt


On YouTube

Directed by Benjamin Turner and Gabe Turner

The man, the legend. A rare and insightful look into the world of Usain Bolt as he prepares for the 2016 Rio Olympics, where he attempts to make history by winning the 100m and 200m races for a record third time.

hacker:HUNTER Olympic Destroyer


On Tomorrow Unlocked

Directed by Wael Dabbous

The story of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics cyberattack in Korea will most likely amaze you. This three-part series looks at the background to the mysterious Pyeongchang cyberattack, the Olympics IT team’s stunning response and why it was so hard (and so risky) to find out who did it.

Without Limits


On Amazon Prime

Directed by Robert Towne

Relationships between athletes and coaches can be, well, intense. None perhaps more so than the connection between record-breaking runner Steven Prefontaine and his coach Bill Bowerman. After qualifying for the 1972 Munich Olympics, the two start a unique and tear-jerking journey. No spoiler alerts here.

Touch the Wall


On Amazon Prime

Directed by Grant Barbeito and Christo Brock

This documentary follows the close bond between American swimmers Missy Franklin and Kara Lynn Joyce as they prepared to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics. As Franklin was younger, she looked up to Joyce as a role model, while Joyce found herself inspired by Franklin’s drive, and together, they became an unstoppable force.

The Crash Reel


On Amazon Prime

Directed by Lucy Walker

20 years of footage, one intense rivalry that defines an era. The Crash Reel is an up-close and personal look at the relationship between two snowboarding titans, Kevin Pearce and Shaun White, as they compete at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Pearce suffered a traumatic brain injury before the games but still decided to continue. Here’s what unfolded.

And the gold medal goes to…

You don’t need to be fighting fit to be among the action of these Olympic features. Which unbeatable Olympic-themed documentaries have we missed? Share your recs on our Twitter and Facebook. On your marks, get set, go!