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“I have to push my limits every day,” says Olympic marathon gold medalist Naoko Takahashi in a new film about her life, “My strength was to be able to do that every day of my career.”
The Distance, recently released by the Olympics Channel, brilliantly shows the commitment, work, pressures and joys of becoming the best in the world. You’ll relate to Takahashi as she puts in unprecedented training in Boulder, grows in strength and confidence, suffers injury, overcomes setbacks and toes the line in Sydney prepared to run “with no regrets.”
But the film goes beyond the training and racing, exploring the pressures of carrying the weight of personal ambition, a driven coach and a running-crazed nation thirsty for a gold medal — pressure that drove one Olympic medalist to suicide.
In the inspiring climax, we get to relive the marathon in Sydney, getting an insider view of every move as Takahashi powers away to gold and glory. And we see her learn to understand and live with that historic victory, from the morning after when she realizes the world is the same — and goes for a run — to her transition from champion to an inspirational leader for future generations.
The Distance was created by Five Rings Films, produced for the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) global media platform by Frank Marshall and Mandalay Sports Media (MSM). Marshall, whose producing credits include legendary titles such as “Jason Bourne,” “Jurassic World” and “Indiana Jones” franchises, serves as executive producer alongside MSM’s Mike Tollin and Jon Weinbach whose recent credits include “The Last Dance.”