The Christmas Day death of Bud Greenspan, the official documentarian of the Olympics since 1984, is generating the typical fond remembrance pieces from the likes of Alan Abrahamson and Richard Sandomir, among others.
What I found most striking about some of Greenspan’s “official” work is how he didn’t make distinctions between male and female athletes in his storytelling. To be sure, the gender of the athletes depicted is obvious. But in his filmmaker’s eye and mind, a great story doesn’t differentiate.
Recall the 1984 Los Angeles Games, when the International Olympic Committee began moving out of the stone age and began offering competition in a number of sports for women, including the first women’s marathon. There also was the controversial 3,000-meter run involving Mary Decker and Zola Budd.
This also was a period of great contention in women’s sports in the United States, two years after the NCAA began sponsoring national championships for women (a move that the now-defunct AIAW fought vigorously, to no avail),