196 | Paul Kemp (Nike’s Big Bet)

My Summer Lair Chapter #196: Has Nike’s Big Bet Paid Off?

Welcome director Paul Kemp to My Summer Lair to discuss his running documentary Nike’s Big Bet.

In America you can check out Nike’s Big Bet on Peacock; it is 83 minutes.

In Canada the CBC Gem version is 44 minutes so I guess streaming is also “Big Bet.”

Remarkable documentaries are not like sports; there aren’t always clear winners and losers. Here’s Nike’s big bet:

“In 2001 Nike established the Oregon Project as a program to develop elite runners (and put Americans back on top…of course.). Running coach Alberto Salazar was in charge of the program and given free reign to employ his unorthodox tactics to deliver results. In 2019 despite never failing a drug test and his athletes never testing positive, he received a four-year doping ban from all coaching activities and the project immediately collapsed. So…what happened?”

Did Salazar’s “Just Do It” attitude and questionable practices push the limits of human performance and technology too far? And what is fair or even fair play in sports?

Malcolm Gladwell who appears in this documentary said: “It is so typical of the dysfunction of track and field that we will bring down the house on someone operating at the margins. You’re going to bring down the hammer on Alberto Salazar on something that is so complicated that I can’t even follow half the arguments against Alberto Salazar.”

Oh Boy. Shall we get into all this and more with director Paul Kemp who is an actual show runner. You’ll know what I mean as soon as you hit play.

Nike’s Big Bet @ WT F

Host Sammy Younan

Recorded: Monday November 8, 2021 at 1:00Pm EST

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