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Lindsey Vonn’s directorial debut, ‘Picabo,’ is a labor of love

Picabo Street celebrates her gold medal in the Super-G giant slalom event at the 1998 Winter Olympics. (Jerome Prevost/TempSport/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

Picabo Street is re-telling her story on her own terms with help from champion skier Lindsey Vonn and acclaimed director Frank Marshall.

The Idaho native has quite the tale to tell, decades removed from a groundbreaking skiing career that included a Super-G gold medal at the 1998 Winter Games. As a cultural icon, Street captivated fans with her raw honesty and playful nature and helped American skiing on the map.

Street’s signature candor was on full display as she spoke lovingly about “Picabo,” the 90-minute intimate portrait of her rise to prominence, now available to stream on Peacock before the Beijing Winter Games open on Friday.

“When we decided to go ahead with the film, the first thing I told everyone was that the number one most important thing to me is authenticity,” Street tells Just Women’s Sports.

Vonn, in many ways, is the perfect person to tell Street’s story. As a fan turned teammate and friend, she understands what makes the Olympian tick. In her role as co-director, Vonn appears on screen to interview Street, prodding beyond the medals, the fame and the accolades.

“She knew me already as a person … and as a teammate, so she did a lot of the digging behind it all herself and was really ready for the interview when we did it,” Street says of the revealing conversation that grounds the documentary.

The former Team USA athletes also hit the slopes together for the film. Street said it was an emotional experience since it was the first time Vonn and Street had skied together in a non-competitive environment.

“We didn’t have to talk about the course, and we didn’t have to talk about the weather, and we didn’t have to talk about whether the light was good or not and who was going to win and all the politics that go around it,” says Street, adding that she is often brought to tears when thinking back to the day.

While Street’s athletic achievements are covered in the film, “Picabo” also touches on the skier’s private life, most notably her close yet complex familial ties.

“My family and our relationship engulfed everything, the entire journey,” says Street, whose father’s diabetes diagnosis specifically served as a pivotal moment in her life and career.

The documentary doesn’t shy away from the love and conflict between Street and her late father, including an incident that resulted in a dismissed domestic violence charge against the champion skier. For Street, revisiting her father’s illness and the trying moments between the two has been a cathartic process.

“The term I want to try to use is excavate and cleanse. My big mission is to break the cycle, and as long as I am still bleeding from those wounds, I’m not free to completely break the cycle,” she says. “I can pay my story forward and keep making a difference in other peoples’ lives.”

The documentary’s holistic representation of Street as both an elite athlete capable of staggering physical feats and a human being with nuanced relationships and vulnerabilities comes at a time of heightened awareness around athlete mental health. Gymnast Simone Biles’ decision to step back from several events at the Tokyo Olympics sparked a meaningful conversation around the connection between physical safety and mental wellbeing.

Street, 50, relates to Biles in some ways, especially in the risks of their sport (“You can’t lose track of yourself in the air any more than I can lose track of myself on the downhill course,” she says). One of the differences, however, is the heightened access and attention athletes contend with today.

“Everybody is watching, and everybody thinks they have a little ownership in it, and therefore the decisions you make, they have an opinion about those decisions,” Street says.

(Courtesy of Peacock)

Throughout her career, Street endeared herself to the American public, earning the media’s adoration as a captivating and charming public figure. “I grew up without television, so I had no idea what a role model on TV even was like,” says Street, crediting her engaging and authentic front-facing image to her initial naivete. “I was fortunate enough to have a really good go with the media throughout my career and really display my personality, have a good time with it.”

Reminiscing about the shimmy she would do on the podium and her entertaining post-race celebrations, Street says she always wanted the fans to have as much fun as she was having.

The Olympian feels similarly about the film, hoping viewers will sit back, relax and enjoy “the joyful journey of the ride” from the comfort of their own home. At the center of the film is a big heart, with Street citing her three sons as the motivation for telling her story, hoping they would be able to see their mom through a new lens.

“At the core of all of it is love. Love is powerful,” Street says. “It’s a love story of my family, it’s a love story of me and skiing, and ski racing and me, and all the competitors I competed with.”

Clare Brennan is an associate editor at Just Women’s Sports.

‘UNINTERRUPTED’s Top Class Tennis’ Debuts on Prime 

Still from tennis docuseries UNINTERRUPTED'S Top Class Tennis
'UNINTERRUPTED'S Top Class Tennis' follows four junior players as they prep for the Orange Bowl. (Amazon MGM Studios)

Prime Video is hitting the tennis court with Thursday's streaming premiere of UNINTERRUPTED's Top Class Tennis.

After four seasons of the men's high school basketball-focused Top Class: The Life and Times of The Sierra Canyon Trailblazers, athlete empowerment brand UNINTERRUPTED is expanding its purview to tennis with a new four-episode mixed-gender docuseries.

Junior tennis stars take centerstage

Behind the concept is 2017 US Open champion and world No. 45 pro Sloane Stephens, who co-executive produced the series alongside LeBron James and Maverick Carter, co-founders of UNINTERRUPTED and its production and entertainment development arm, The SpringHill Company.

Top Class Tennis follows four players on their journeys to the Orange Bowl, arguably the junior circuit’s Grand Slam equivalent. The Florida-based international tournament was established in 1947 and has crowned a long list of future pros as champions, from retired great Steffi Graf to current star Coco Gauff.

Stealing the spotlight this season is rising Harvard sophomore and 2022-23 USA Today Girls Tennis Player of the Year Stephanie Yakoff, as well as five-time junior title winner and incoming Texas freshman Ariana Anazagasty-Pursoo. Both already have WTA creds, with Yakoff featuring at the 2023 BNP Paribas Open while Anazagasty-Pursoo competed on three Grand Slam courts.

Kamilla Cardoso, Kiki Rice, Caitlin Clark, Holly Rowe and Kristen Lappas at the ESPN+ 'Full Court Press' premiere
ESPN+'s Full Court Press is one of several women's sports docs hitting the screen this year. (Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Women's sports storms the big screen

Top Class Tennis is just the latest in what's shaping up to be a women’s sports documentary boom.

From Max's LFG about the USWNT's fight for equal pay and Netflix's Under Pressure chronicling the 2023 World Cup to ESPN+’s 2023-24 NCAA basketball series Full Court Press, athletes in women’s sports have taken streamers by storm.

UNINTERRUPTED's Top Class Tennis is available for streaming now on Prime Video

JWS Launches ‘The Gold Standard’ Hosted by Olympians Kelley O’Hara & Lisa Leslie

the gold standard logo
'The Gold Standard' is just one of three new JWS shows tackling the Summer Olympics.

Just Women's Sports announced three new digital series on Thursday, headlined by The Gold Standard, a new studio show hosted by Olympic gold medalists and women's sports icons Kelley O'Hara and Lisa Leslie.

USWNT and NWSL great O'Hara, a two-time World Cup winner and Olympic gold and bronze medalist, is teaming up with three-time WNBA MVP Lisa Leslie, herself a four-time Olympic gold medalist with Team USA, to bring viewers inside the world of Olympic women's sports. The pair will record each episode in-studio, with a series of special guests joining them throughout the show's run.

An insider's view of the Summer Games

The Gold Standard will debut on July 27th and cover the biggest women's sports stories from the Paris Olympics, giving fans a unique perspective by tapping into the insights and opinions of two legendary Olympians. 

"I know first-hand just how exciting and intense the Olympic Games can be," Leslie told JWS. "This show gives us a chance as athletes to bring fans closer to the experience, by sharing our unique insights into the Games. And with all the momentum we're seeing in women's sports, now is the perfect time to have a show dedicated to the biggest women's sports moments at the Olympic Games." 

"I can still remember watching the '96 Olympics and knowing that I wanted to be on that stage one day," says O'Hara. "Having the chance to compete in the Olympics and win gold was one of the highlights of my career. I'm looking forward to being a fan this time around and getting the chance to share my own perspective on the Games' biggest stories. Having teamed with Just Women's Sports before, I know this will be content that resonates with fans." 

The Gold Standard will live on Just Women's Sports' YouTube page, with select social cuts distributed across JWS digital platforms. The six-episode show will run through August 13th.

uswnt stars kelley o'hara and jaedyn shaw on jws digital series 1v1
1v1 with Kelley O'Hara will focus on USWNT players as they prep for the 2024 Olympics. (Just Women's Sports)

Additional series focus on USWNT's Olympic run

The Gold Standard is just one of three upcoming JWS series designed to invite fans to experience the Summer Games from an Olympian's point of view, with additional series zeroing in on the USWNT's 2024 Olympic run.

Ahead of the opening ceremony, JWS will launch the latest edition of 1v1, with host Kelley O'Hara interviewing three of her USWNT teammates: Emily Sonnett, Jaedyn Shaw, and Rose Lavelle. These peer-to-peer interviews provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the USWNT's preparation for their first major tournament under new manager Emma Hayes.

To round things out, JWS is also bringing back its award-winning series, The 91st. This tournament's edition will be hosted by retired USWNT star and World Cup champion Jessica McDonald alongside noted soccer personalities Jordan Angeli and Duda Pavão. The 91st will follow the USWNT as it looks to go for gold against a stacked international field at the Paris Olympics — including reigning World Cup winners Spain.

Each new digital series leans on the expertise of its accomplished hosts and special guest stars, providing fans with candid, personality-driven commentary surrounding this summer's biggest event.

Costa Rica Holds USWNT to 0-0 Draw in Frustrating Olympic Send-Off

USWNT midfielder Lindsey Horan dribbles the ball by Costa Rica forward Melissa Herrera and midfielder Gloriana Villalobos
The USWNT had 12 shots on goal on Tuesday despite failing to find the back of the net. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

The USWNT didn't quite get the going away party they were hoping for, settling for a 0-0 draw with Costa Rica on Tuesday in their final tune-up match before the 2024 Olympics kick off next week.

The US produced 26 shots — 12 on target — alongside 67 touches in the box, the most in any match where they failed to convert a single goal since at least 2015, per Opta. Yet they also faced a heroic performance from Costa Rica goalkeeper Noelia Bermúdez, who tallied 12 saves on the night.

USWNT starters remained mostly intact

After Saturday's win over Mexico, USWNT manager Emma Hayes opted for a very similar starting XI, only swapping Crystal Dunn in for Jenna Nighswonger due to load management.

Named starter Rose Lavelle was a late scratch from the lineup after team warmups, with US Soccer attributing her last-minute absence to "leg tightness." Lavelle was replaced by midfielder Korbin Albert, giving the US a slightly less aggressive attacking edge throughout the match.

Casey Krueger, Lynn Williams, Jaedyn Shaw, Emily Sonnett, and rookie Croix Bethune all got minutes in the second half, coming off the bench to contend with Washington, DC's brutally hot conditions.

USWNT forward Sophia Smith and Costa Rica midfielder Gloriana Villalobos battle for the ball
Costa Rica managed to fend off the USWNT with a strong defensive low-block. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY)

Costa Rica's low-block spelled trouble

"Listen, if you play a game of percentages or law of averages, we're creating more and more high-quality chances, and we're getting numbers into key areas — we're getting touches in the key areas," Hayes told reporters after the match, calling attention to Costa Rica's strong defensive low-block.

"The last part's the hardest part. And I'm really patient, because I've coached teams that have to break blocks down, and it's the hardest thing to do in coaching," she continued.

Hayes also noted the team's lack of training time under her management: The decorated coach officially joined the US in early June after finishing the WSL season with her previous club, league champs Chelsea FC.

USWNT pose for a picture after their send-off friendly against costa rica at Audi Field
The USWNT's Olympic group stage run kicks off on July 25th. (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

Where to watch the USWNT's Olympic games

Tuesday's draw is just the second time the USWNT has entered a major tournament off a non-win. Back in 2015, the US embarked on their legendary World Cup campaign after a 0-0 send-off draw with South Korea.

The next time the USWNT takes the pitch will be at the Paris Olympics, where they'll play Zambia on Thursday, July 25th at 3 PM ET. The match will be broadcast live on USA, with streaming options available on Peacock.

The Late Sub Podcast: This Is Sophia Smith’s USWNT Attack Now

Sophia Smith dribbles during the USWNT's 1-0 win over Mexico on Saturday.
Sophia Smith scored the lone goal in the USWNT's 1-0 win over Mexico last Saturday. (Brad Smith/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

This week, JWS podcast host Claire Watkins breaks down the days leading up to the first USWNT Olympic send-off friendly, discussing player performances, things that worked well on the pitch, and what still needs developing as coach Emma Hayes's team moves towards a crucial Olympic competition set to will dictate the future of the team.

She then sets her sights on the WNBA, previewing WNBA All-Star Weekend and chatting with Gatorade Women’s Basketball Player of the Year Joyce Edwards alongside Dallas Wings forward Satou Sabally.

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