If you're looking for sports documentaries this winter, we've got you covered

These are of a non-soccer variety after last year's effort

BY Raf Diallo 12:30 Monday 26 December 2016, 12:30 26 Dec 2016

Former Philadelphia 76er Allen Iverson speaks during a news conference Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, in Philadelphia. Iverson officially retired from the NBA, ending a 15-year career during which he won the 2001 MVP award and four scoring titles. Iverson retired in Philadelphia where he had his greatest successes and led the franchise to the 2001 NBA finals. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

This time last year, we brought you a list of football focused documentaries that would while away the winter days.

This year, we're bringing you some options from a host of other sports. Some are ESPN 30 for 30s and others can be found on Netflix and elsewhere.

The thing that unites them is they all have an interesting story or personas to draw you in.

The Last Gladiators

This one can be found on Netflix Ireland and focuses on ice hockey. It's one I watched last winter without a forensic knowledge of the NHL. More than just the sport, it zones in on the physical and mental strains placed on the players who occupy the enforcer role.

The main strands that takes the central role in the 2012 documentary are Chris "Knuckles" Nilan, the aggression and punch-ups he and others were involved in on the ice and the long-term effect that has had on and off the ice.

Pantani: The Accidental Death of a Cyclist

In 1998, Italian cyclist Marco Pantani won both the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia. Six years later he was found dead in his hotel room.

The story of how he became an elite racer in an era which was later discovered to have marred by widespread doping as well as the downward spiral which led to his death are told in this 2014 documentary which paints the picture of a man and a sport.

Grand Prix: The Killer Years

The tragic death of Jules Bianchi as a result of an injury sustained at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix was a stark reminder of the dangers faced by Formula 1 drivers and race marshals.

2010 BBC documentary Grand Prix: The Killer Years is a grim reminder of a the 1960s and 1970s in Formula 1 when horrific accidents and death was all too common.

It also explains how race track safety improved often in the face of reluctance.


Long time former NBA star Allen Iverson was viewed as something of a bad boy by the media during his 14-year career in elite level basketball.

The eponymous 2014 documentary lifts the lid on a childhood marked by poverty to a court case that could have derailed what was already a promising career.

Chasing Tyson

If you put the names former heavyweight boxing champions Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson into the same sentence, other words that might pop include "ear" and "bite".

ESPN 30 for 30 documentaries are consistently excellent and Chasing Tyson follows the story of how Holyfield did his utmost to secure a fight against Iron Mike.

In 2015, Holyfield spoke to Off The Ball about the documentary, Tyson biting his ear and his career:

Judging Jewell

During the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, a bomb exploded at Centennial Olympic Park.

The death toll could have been large but for the actions of security guard Richard Jewell who found the suspect package and cleared the area before the device exploded.

He was initially regarded as a hero but ESPN 30 for 30 doc Judging Jewell explains how an innocent man went on to become regarded as the suspect.


Gonzalo "Gonchi" Rodríguez was one of the most talented race car drivers of his generation, going wheel to wheel with many a future Formula 1 driver in Formula 3000.

Unfortunately, he would be killed as the result of a crash at Laguna Seca race track in the United States on September 11th, 1999 at the age of 28.

Gonchi, which can be found on Netflix tells the life story of a man with a memorable smile and assured race craft.

Red Army

This 2014 documentary takes you back to the time of the great Soviet Union ice hockey team of the 1980s from their peak to the fall of the USSR when many Russian players began to make their way to the lucrative NHL.

It lifts the curtain on a story from the Cold War and focuses heavily on team captain Slava Fetisov.

It can also be found on Netflix.


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