Rowdy Gaines ESPN Documentary ‘ROWDY’ Premieres June 3rd

ESPN TV journalist and director Hannah Storm is premiering her latest documentary, ROWDY, at the Greenwich International Film Festival June 3rd.

The film chronicles Rowdy Gaines‘ career journey, including his 1991 5-week hospitalization due to neurological paralytic disorder Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and subsequent return to the sport.

Gaines is an Auburn alum, and set 10 world records between 1978 and 1984; he qualified for the boycotted 1980 Olympics before becoming a gold medalist at the 1984 Games. After his battle with Guillain-Barre, at the age of 35, he qualified for Olympic Trials in 1996, but opted to retire and pursue his career in broadcasting. He is now a masters world record holder in multiple events.

Gaines took to Twitter to show his support for the endevour:

You can purchase tickets to the premiere here.

The festival is a non-profit organization that hosts the main event yearly, with supporting events throughout the year. Its purpose is to “bridge the worlds of film, finance, and philanthropy,” and to  “provide filmmakers with the opportunity to showcase their work with the goal of finding financing for future projects.”

While we don’t know much else about the film, Storm, who notably is married to Gaines’ Olympic commentating partner Dan Hicks, last year released Danica, an hour-long documentary about race car driver Danica Patrick. That film focused on Patrick’s life outside of NASCAR.

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anonymous

Gaines is an Auburn alum, and set 10 world records between 1978 and 1984; he qualified for the boycotted 1980 Olympics before becoming a gold medalist at the 1984 Games. After his battle with Guillain-Barre, at the age of 35, he qualified for Olympic Trials in 1996, but opted to retire and pursue his career in broadcasting. He is now a masters world record holder in multiple events.
This I read about the Gulliain-Barre and he said he finally recovered when he could beat a fast rec swimmer or lap swimmer.

I’m hoping they dive into drama of 1980, the struggle between 82-84, when Rowdy was told he was too old to swim until the next Olympics in LA–that he needed to get on with his life….age 22-25 over 1980-83. Rowdy was 25 when he won in 84….right? When I was a kid, USAs leadership told us to retire after college. ***Times have certainly changed.

Joel Lin

In 1984 he became the then oldest Olympic gold medal winner in swimming at the age of 25. I’m sure the ESPN special will also chronicle Rowdy’s labors to stay in the sport; working a front desk night shift at a hotel where he managed some sleep on a cot to make ends meet. His story is a great one. Few appreciate today the hole 1980 left in history. There was no 50 free in the Olympics in 1980, but without doubt Rowdy was a prohibitive favorite to win the 100 & 200 free individual golds & then would’ve added relay medals. Tracy Caulkins was a likely 5 gold medal winner. Sippy Woodhead, Craig Beardsley, Matt Gribble…all the best in… Read more »

Becky D

The boycott still breaks my heart. The women got spanked by the DDR in Montreal, but rebounded at the WC in Berlin in 1978. They were poised to settle the score in Moscow, but Jimmy needed to prove a point.

Aquajosh

I would much rather see a documentary about Tracy Caulkins. When is that one coming out?

anonymous

Well, there was no money in the sport. So, of course they would say retire. Sprinters peak later than middle distance swimmers ,so why retire if you are a sprinter until the early 30’s.

(G)olden Bear

#ambrose

SwimGeek

Us swimgeeks like to complain about Rowdy’s announcing cliches (won’t repeat them here) — but overall, this guy is GREAT for the sport of swimming. He’s a true ambassador. I’ve met him a couple times, and he’s always been warm and welcoming. His love for our sport is clear, and he does so much to promote swimming across the board. Seems like a great dude.

James

I also think he gets overlooked (to some extent) in consideration for one of the all-time greats in the pool, ever. I think if the 1980 games had not been boycotted, he would certainly have a much higher gold medal count – which is often the largest barometer of success in this sport.

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majors in Media Studies and American Studies at Claremont McKenna College. When she's not writing about swimming or baseball, you can probably find her listening to a podcast or in a pool ... and/or watching Seinfeld, which she just realized is funny.

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