Olympic elements run through all 16 editions of BISFW


In 2005, the Olympic Games officially entered the "Beijing Cycle". In that year, which marked the centenary of the Chinese film industry, the first Beijing International Sports Film Week (BISFW) had a grand opening. Since then, the centennial Olympic Movement has joined hands with Chinese films to witness the Olympic dream of the Chinese. The BISFW opening ceremony consisted of three emotional audio-visual offerings: "Smiles", "Tears" and "Dreams", recording the birth of miracles, narrating the course of struggle, and portraying colorful Olympic dreams.

Since its first edition, the BISFW has been deeply imprinted with Olympic elements. Today, we will review the films containing Olympic elements that were screened during the BISFW. They either tell stories about the hard work of Olympic athletes, or show the extraordinary years of the centennial modern Olympics.

Since 2009, the BISFW, as a continuation of the "Cultural Olympics", has been continuously held by the Beijing Olympic City Development Association and incorporated into the Beijing Olympic City Sports Culture Festival.

Since 2017, the BISFW has been jointly sponsored by the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, the Chinese Olympic Committee and the Beijing Olympic City Development Association, and funded by the Beijing Olympic City Development Foundation and its council members. The BISFW, upholding the tenet "carry on the Olympic spirit, build a better city”, on the one hand, widely publicizes Beijing 2022, further promotes the inheritance of Olympic legacy, and spreads the culture of winter sports; and on the other, strives to build a platform for high-quality international sports film and television exchanges, boosts the development of Chinese sports film and television works, and tells the world the story of Chinese ice and snow sports.


2008: The One Man Olympics

2008 is China's "Year of Olympics". During the 4th BISFW, a special event -- "Playing Ten Thousand Films on the Same Day to Welcome the Olympics" -- in digital form was held across rural areas nationwide. On the opening ceremony night of the event, 10,000 units of digital film projection equipment started simultaneously across the country to play the two latest homemade sports films, The One Man Olympics and Mai Mai Ti’s 2008, allowing rural people to appreciate the tenacious fight and constant self-improvement spirit brought about by sports, and making the Olympic concept of "One World, One Dream" more deeply rooted in the hearts of people.

The One Man Olympics represents the story of Liu Changchun, the first Chinese athlete who went to the United States to participate in the Olympics, and reflects the indomitable spirit of China's outstanding athletes. In 1932, the Northeast China-born sprinter Liu Changchun refused to participate in the Los Angeles Olympics on behalf of the puppet Manchurian government supported by Japan. He bid farewell to his wife and children in tears, escaped from Dalian occupied by Japanese invaders, survived the pursuit of Kwantung Army and fled to Beijing. Funded by Zhang Xueliang, he arrived in Los Angeles alone after a 23-day voyage, and stood at the starting point of the Olympic track on behalf of 400 million Chinese. He opened the door of the Olympic Games for the Chinese, and expressed to the world the strong will of a nation to catch up with the world.

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2008: Our Olympics -- Smile of 1988

In the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Li Ning participated in the torch relay as a representative of Chinese athletes. On the first day of the Games, it was a pity that China did not have a good start. Everyone had high expectations for weightlifter He Zhuoqiang, because he broke world records eight times within two years but he failed unexpectedly. Xu Haifeng’s failure made the Chinese disappointed. Li Ning made mistakes in the rings and horse-vaulting events, but left a smile on his final Olympic Games.

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2012:  "The Brilliant 1912 Olympic Games"

This is a Swedish documentary. At that time, people thought that the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm was the largest and most successful sports event in history. Through unique archive photos that record exciting events and athletes' vigorous postures, the early scenes of the Olympic Movement that were forgotten are vividly presented.

The film not only tells stories about competitions and championships, but also starkly exposes political controversies and scandals during the Olympic crisis. As the only candidate bidding for the 1912 Olympic Games, Stockholm was a turning point in the realization of the great ideal of Olympic initiator Pierre de Coubertin. Due to wide use of electronic timing technology and the concept of exclusive sales of pictures and audio-visual products, the 1912 Olympics was regarded as the first modern Olympics in history. The then President of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, was lavish in his praise: "The Stockholm Olympic Games is the blueprint for the future ones."


2014: The Hell of '63

To help Beijing's bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, the 10th BISFW set up an ice and snow sports section for the first time to cheer the effort. During the week, six handpicked film and television works on the theme of ice and snow sports were played in 14 sessions. The Netherlands movie The Hell of '63 was one of them.

The film is themed on skating. Four ambitious young people participated in the Netherlands 11-City Skating Tour in 1963. After numerous difficulties and hardships, they finally crossed the finish line at the last minute and won the 11 City Cross Medals. The tour was nicknamed "the hell of 1963". Due to the atrocious weather, only 69 of the 10,000 participants completed the tour and received medals. It also became an event that changed their destiny.

Several protagonists are now elderly people, and they appear in the movie with the top three of the tour.

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2019: Rings of the World

Rings of the World is the official documentary of the 22nd Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014. The film selected 32 characters and was divided into 17 sections based on sports events to represent the opening ceremony, ski jumping, biathlon, freestyle skiing aerials, speed skating, short track speed skating, ice hockey, snowboard halfpipe, curling, freestyle skiing moguls, figure skating and the closing ceremony.

The film not only presented plenty of dynamic frames on athletes, audiences, performers and various sports events, but also applied feature film techniques to usher in narrative elements, taking the stories of athletes as the main line of narration and inviting them to talk about the Olympic Winter Games. The film showcased not only the venues and competitions objectively and comprehensively but also the optimism, cheerfulness and enthusiasm of the Russian people.

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(Jie Mingyue)


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