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Champions vs. Legends (Winter Sports)

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Catalogue Number:  KC0103
Producer:  Kensington Communications Inc.
Producing Agencies:  Kensington Communications Inc., Berlin Producers, Pre TV
Subject:  Documentary, Health and Medicine, Science, Sports
Language:  English
Grade Level:  9 - 12, Post Secondary
Country Of Origin:  Canada
Copyright Year:  2018
Running Time:  44:12
Closed Captions:  Yes

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Every year, winter athletes set new world records. But are today’s champions really superior to legends of the past? Or are they only faster because their equipment is more high-tech?

To find out, renowned sports scientist Steve Haake meets five top winter athletes, and challenges them to beat the world records of athletic legends while using old-school gear.

At Vancouver’s Olympic Oval, champion speed skater Christine Nesbitt wears replicas of 1960s speed skates as she attempts to beat the time of 1960s Russian legend Inga Artamonova. In St. Moritz, German bobsled champs Max Arndt and Alex Rodiger ride a 1940s-era sled to compete against 1940s legends Felix Endrich and Fritz Waller. In the Austrian alps, up-and-coming skier Manuel Feller competes head-to-head with 1980s legend Marc Girardelli in heats designed to measure how the evolution of ski design impacts performance. On the same giant slalom course, German Paralympic sit-skier Anna Schaffelhuber rides the original sit-ski – built in 1982 – as she attempts to beat the speed of 1980s sit-skiers. At a rink in Kelowna B.C., NHL star Shea Weber tries to equal Bobby Hull’s slap shot speed while using a replica of Hull’s hockey stick.

In every event, the winner is impossible to predict. Taken together, the matchups reveal the effect of technological advances on performance, and something shared by athletes of every era: the innate human drive to win.

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