Studio Minuit Athletes and Criminals - True Stories

Although professional athletes are distinguished by their extraordinary athletic abilities, they are still human beings who can break under the weight of their emotions or other impulses and commit the unthinkable... In the history of sport, many athletes have found themselves behind bars for crimes of varying degrees of seriousness. And among these criminals, there are legends of sport...

Here are the incredible yet true stories of OJ Simpson, Oscar Pistorius the "Blade Runner", Tonya Harding, or Bikram Choudhury, the bad boy of yoga and inventor of Bikram Yoga.

Sport and Crime - True Stories : A Studio Minuit Program

Bikram Choudhury, the bad boy of yoga
Bikram Choudhury, the bad boy of yoga (00:11:13)
Imagine yourself in a gym with 30 other people, and the room is heated to 120 degrees Fahrenheit for the next 90 minutes. Your body is already dripping with sweat, and that's just the beginning. A series of 26 different postures awaits you, from the eagle to the triangle to the half moon, interspersed with two breathing exercises, essential if you care at all about your lungs. Behind you, you feel a man coming and going, dressed only in a tight black bathing suit and the golden Rolex on his wrist. His voice penetrates you, guiding your every move, and everyone around you obeys him. Before you, celebrities like George Harrison, Frank Sinatra or Madonna have practiced this “hot yoga”, a practice that supposedly cures everything: arthritis, lumbago, heart problems...
Larry Nassar, the sick doctor
Larry Nassar, the sick doctor (00:11:26)
At age 14, Nadia Comăneci shakes the world of gymnastics with her perfect 10 out of 10 score at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Despite her victory, the gymnast from Romania never shakes off her serious expression, her eyebrows furrowed behind her bangs and her mouth shut. When asked by a journalist why she never smiles, she replies that she only thinks about her past and future training. Her precocious maturity and achievements inspire a host of little girls to rush to the gyms and sign up for gymnastics, not only in the Eastern bloc, but also on the other side of the Iron Curtain and in the United States. From those years on, the average age in the discipline dropped drastically: the younger the better. Frequent side effects have been growth problems, eating disorders, metabolic disorders... But nobody complains about it. The gym, sometimes, can be a cruel place. When it comes to pushing the athletes’ limits, anything goes; the coaches have more control as the girls are younger; and instead of trying to create a healthy and safe environment, all kinds of abuses start to be committed, on the mind as well as on the body...
Aaron Hernandez, Double Play, Double Homicide
Aaron Hernandez, Double Play, Double Homicide (00:21:31)
Football may be the most popular sport in the United States, even a religion for some, but it can have a darker side. Several high-profile criminal cases implicated NFL players: O.J. Simpson, the most famous, accused of having murdered his ex-girlfriend; Deshaun Watson, quarterback of the Houston Texans, charged by 21 women of sexual assault; Michael Vick, who organized dog fights in his spare time. Unbearable daily pressure, omnipresence of the media, painful family history... There seems to be no shortage of reasons to fall on the wrong side of the fence, although it is difficult to make generalizations. Nevertheless, there can sometimes be a kind of double game. Shining on the field and in front of the cameras, and behind the scenes... darkness.
Sonny Liston, the Train in the Night
Sonny Liston, the Train in the Night (00:11:17)
In the 1973 film “Day for Night”, the director François Truffaut compares the cinema to trains running through the night: films are more harmonious than life, they move forward inexorably, without traffic jams and without dead time. 10 years earlier, Night Train was already the title of a James Brown song, to which the American boxer Sonny Liston systematically practiced, punching his pear in rhythm, never missing a beat.
Peter Storey, the Bastard of Bastards
Peter Storey, the Bastard of Bastards (00:07:02)
Any England fan of a certain, nostalgic age will tell you straight up: soccer is not what it used to be. Ah, you should have seen in it in the 60's, how the pitch was systematically transformed into a battlefield. Video assistance was science fiction, players didn't wear shin guards and goalkeepers stopped shots with their bare hands, no gloves... It was a happy time for defenders. They were ordered to hit the ball hard, to try to aim at the ball first when tackling, but if the spike accidentally hit the dribbler, no one complained... In this particular exercise, Peter Storey was one of the greatest in England. Nicknamed the Hatchet Man, or "the bastard of bastards", the footballer never ceased to play with the limits or the rules, both on and off the field...
Tonya Harding, Triple Axle on an Ice Ring
Tonya Harding, Triple Axle on an Ice Ring (00:12:12)
It is January 6, 1994, at the Tony Kent Center in Dennis, Massachusetts. At the end of the day, skater Nancy Kerrigan completes her training session with a loop jump, then leaves the ice for dry land. She covers her blades with slippers, and steps behind the backstage curtain on the tips of her skates. On her way to the locker room, she sees a man coming towards her from the other end of the deserted corridor. As he reaches her, he wordlessly deploys a telescopic baton and violently hits her in the leg. Nancy collapses, screams for help: her trainer barely has time to run in that the man has already vanished. There is no doubt this was a premeditated act: a single blow has been struck, aimed at the skater’s now red and swollen knee...
Who shot Lorenzen Wright?
Who shot Lorenzen Wright? (00:10:15)
On the night of July 18th 2010, the ringing of a telephone breaks a brief and peaceful interlude at the 911 call center in Germantown, a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee. An employee swallows the last drops of her coffee and picks up the phone: she barely has time to speak when a shot rings out in her headset, soon followed by others. Silence falls again, the operator timidly signifies her presence for the second time and by way of answer, new detonations hit her eardrums. The deluge resumes and, after a last lull, the communication is abruptly cut...
Oscar Pistorius, the Blade Runner
Oscar Pistorius, the Blade Runner (00:20:46)
On August 4th 2012, a shot sounds in the stadium, signaling the start of the second semi-final of the men's 400 meter race at the London Summer Olympics. Under the cheers of the crowd, eight athletes take off in a flash and among them, the runner from South Africa attracts the spotlight. Nothing seems to distinguish him from his adversaries, until the camera switches to a wide shot and reveals two carbon blades pounding the track instead of feet. Oscar Pistorius is making history: in his discipline, he is the first amputee athlete to participate in an Olympic race.
Bruno de Souza, the Monstruous Goalkeeper
Bruno de Souza, the Monstruous Goalkeeper (00:08:02)
In early summer 2010, the soccer nation is in mourning. Eliminated by the Netherlands in the quarter-finals of the World Cup, Brazil’s national team returns home empty-handed and is about to go on a grim vacation. The media cannot be counted on to smooth things over: the Seleção's mediocre performance during the competition is all over the front pages. The journalists and the fans don’t digest failure easily... And instead of a miracle, it’s rather a sordid tragedy that will finally give some respite to the defeated players. There’s nothing like sports or blood, or both at once, to distract the media’s attention...
The OJ Simpson Case, the Trial of the Century
The OJ Simpson Case, the Trial of the Century (00:08:35)
On the morning of June 17th 1994, 95 million Americans were glued to their televisions. Any channel would salivate at such Super-Bowl worthy ratings. An exceptional audience, for an exceptional show: from the sky, cameramen in helicopters film the deserted freeway ramps of Los Angeles, where only a white Ford Bronco crisscrosses the asphalt... Holding the steering wheel in one hand, a gun in the other, with a police officer's voice blaring through a megaphone behind his back, telling him to stop, to think of all those who love him, of all the children who admire him, not to let them down... It must be said that the man is a living legend: 20 years earlier, he was the fastest running back in the world.
Bikram Choudhury, the bad boy of yoga