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.

24
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of
24 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
anonymous
3 years ago

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.

Reply to  anonymous
3 years ago

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.

anonymous
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
3 years ago

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.

Joel Lin
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
3 years ago

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… Read more »

Aquajosh
Reply to  Joel Lin
3 years ago

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

Becky D
Reply to  Joel Lin
3 years ago

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.

(G)olden Bear
3 years ago

#ambrose

SwimGeek
3 years ago

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
Reply to  SwimGeek
3 years ago

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.

Tammy Touchpad Error
3 years ago

They gonna talk about jumping the gun in 100 free in 84 and stealing a gold medal?

He Gets It Done Again
Reply to  Tammy Touchpad Error
3 years ago

He didn’t jump at all. The starter went too quickly and Stockwell wasn’t set, but that’s not Rowdy’s fault.

Scribble
3 years ago

I think the highlight of Rowdy’s announcing career was when he took a strong position against doping and the political bodies that allowed proven cheaters in Rio in 2016.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Scribble
3 years ago

Nope, I think it was when he was calling the Men’s 1650 at NCAAs a few years back and thought the Penn guy who won it was getting lapped.

OLDBALDIMER
3 years ago

Met Rowdy at a 3 day Masters Performance camp last year. His passion for swimming is unmatched. He was so humble around all the Olympians at the camp, you would never know he was one of the best. I saw him take time with every attendee and gave feedback on our strokes and technique. I really enjoyed getting to know him a bit. Congrats Rowdy…Well deserved!

Years of Plain Suck
3 years ago

Met Rowdy at the 1998 NCAA Champtionships which were held at Auburn that year (and won by Stanford). A very gracious man. As many others have mentioned, Rowdy was one of those royally screwed by the 1980 US Olympic boycott (Coach George Haines told me that it was the worst act of the Carter administration). I believe Rowdy held the WR in the 200 free in 1980.

That being said, I wish Rowdy would retire from the broadcasting booth. As they say, “Every right idea eventually becomes the wrong one.” Time to let some younger and more motivated talent in the door!

Buckeyeboy
Reply to  Years of Plain Suck
3 years ago

I vote for “livestream Andy”. That guy is a soon to be legend.

The Pool Boy
Reply to  Years of Plain Suck
3 years ago

Rowdy’s greatest asset to the sport is his passion for the moment. Not many voices of swimming have the knowledge, passion and ability to translate to the mainstream audience like Rowdy does. But I agree that letting the next generation in occasionally will help bridge the gap when these guys retire. I like the Georgia guy. He is definitely a homer for the Bulldogs, but his knowledge of the other swimmers who come to Athens makes it enjoyable for all fans in attendance. People like that bring us into the competition that much more.

Dan Smith
3 years ago

Had the pleasure of meeting Rowdy informally at ’16 OTrials. Every great ambassador for their sport has their quirks, and those should be celebrated along with his vocal enthusiasm for promoting the sport he loves. A true great in the pool and behind the microphone and in front of the camera. Should be honored as he is a voice for swimming that convinces people to try it. Still makes the hair on my neck stand up when watching the Men’s Olympics 4×100 free relay victory with Lezak’s amazing anchor!

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

Read More »