Arizona PBS to Premiere Olympic-Themed Specials in Honor of Upcoming Rio Games

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PHOENIX – (Aug. 1, 2016)

Arizona PBS is gearing up for the 2016 Summer Olympics with a lineup of programming examining pivotal moments in Olympic history, as well as live coverage direct from Rio de Janeiro on Cronkite News.

This summer, Arizona PBS takes viewers on a journey through time, exploring groundbreaking moments from past Olympics and the lives of athletes who broke down barriers to claim their places in history.

“We’re thrilled to bring such a strong variety of Olympic-themed programming to our viewers just in time for this year’s games in Rio,” said Nancy Southgate, associate general manager of content at Arizona PBS. “From the 1936 Games that laid the groundwork for the modern Olympics, to the story of the young woman who won the first Olympic gold medal for women's boxing in 2012, our expansive coverage is designed to take viewers on a trip through history and generate excitement for this year’s Olympic competition.”

Kicking off the lineup is the premiere of the new documentary, “The Nazi Games: Berlin 1936,” which delves into the story behind how the Nazis and the International Olympic Committee turned what was once a relatively small, elitist sports event into the epic, global mass media spectacle that it is today. Viewers will catch a glimpse inside the first ever torch relay and discover why the Berlin Olympics have been called “one of the most spectacular of all time.” The program also explores Hitler’s motivations for promoting the games, and how the monumental scope of the event set the bar for all Olympic games to follow.

Then, the new American Experience documentary, “The Boys of ‘36” explores how nine working-class young men from the University of Washington took the rowing world and the nation by storm when they captured the gold medal at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. These sons of loggers, shipyard workers and farmers overcame tremendous hardships — psychological, physical and economic — to beat not only the Ivy League teams of the East Coast but Adolf Hitler’s elite German rowers. Their unexpected victory, and the obstacles they overcame to achieve it, gave hope to a nation struggling to emerge from the depths of the Great Depression.

Arizona PBS’ Olympic lineup also includes the trailblazing story of Claressa “T-Rex” Shields who, at 17-years-old, was the first to take home the gold medal for women's boxing in 2012. This all-new Independent Lens special takes viewers through Shields’ tumultuous journey, as she proved that women could excel at something that was long considered exclusively “a man’s sport.”

Rounding out the Olympics programming, is the return of the inspiring POV special, “My Way to Olympia,” which follows disabled filmmaker Niko von Glasow as he explores the London Paralympics. Initially, von Glasow thought the Paralympics was a “stupid idea,” though his perception begins to change as he spends time with the Rwandan sitting volleyball team and an American archer without arms.

Arizona PBS also will offer viewers a deeper look at this year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, with a Cronkite News team of 25 student reporters from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication broadcasting every weekday at 5 p.m. Led by Arizona PBS Associate General Manager for Innovation and Design Mark Lodato and Cronkite News Phoenix Sports Bureau Director Brett Kurland, the team will report on stories with ties to Arizona and other markets in the Pac-12 region as well as on Brazilian culture and other topics.

A chronological listing of Arizona PBS’ Olympic-themed programming follows:

The Nazi Games: Berlin 1936

New: Tuesday, Aug. 2, at 7 p.m.

See how the Nazis and the IOC turned, to their mutual advantage, an elitist sports event into an epic global and mass media spectacle that, despite the IOC’s determined attempts to forget, continues to this day.

The Boys of ’36: American Experience

New: Tuesday, Aug. 2, at 8 p.m.

Discover the thrilling story of the underdog U.S. rowing team that triumphed at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Independent Lens: “T-Rex: Her Fight for Gold”

New: Tuesday, Aug. 2, at 9 p.m.

Meet Claressa “T-Rex” Shields, who rose from the streets of Flint, Michigan to win the first Olympic gold medal for women's boxing in 2012.

POV “My Way to Olympia”

Friday, Aug. 5, at 9 p.m. Disabled filmmaker Niko von Glasow explores London's Paralympics, challenging his own ideas about disability and sports.

Cronkite News coverage of Olympic Games in Brazil

Aug. 1 – 21, weekdays at 5 p.m. A Cronkite News team of 25 student reporters covers stories on location from the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

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