Everything I know about the triple axel I learned from I, Tonya.
So you could say Margot Robbie’s performance as Tonya Harding, the first American woman figure skater to land that jump in competition, prepared me to fully appreciate Mirai Nagasu’s feat in becoming the first U.S. woman to pull off a triple axel in Olympics competition.
And with all due respect to Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir, who put in endless hours on the ice to get where they are today, there’s nothing like training to do Winter Olympic Games commentary from the comfort of a warm theater.
Or even from your own couch.
Here are five more movies that might help make you, too, the best Olympics commentator this side of Pyeongchang:
The Cutting Edge (1992). Introduced the world to the expression “toe pick” and more importantly to the Pamchenko, a possibly impossible skating move invented by coach Anton Pamchenko (Roy Dotrice), and performed by warring partners Kate Moseley (Moira Kelly) and Doug Dorsey (D.B. Sweeney) in the movie’s climax, during the Albertville Olympics. Where to watch: Amazon Prime or Hulu.
Miracle (2004). Kurt Russell plays Herb Brooks, coach of the U.S. hockey team that scored a huge upset against the Soviet Union’s team at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid and went on to win gold. Where to watch: Showtime On Demand and streaming.
Cool Runnings (1993). Cowritten by Philadelphia native Michael Goldberg and loosely based on the story of the Jamaican bobsled team’s first appearance, at the 1988 Olympics, this movie, like The Cutting Edge, reminds us that if for some reason you cannot compete in your chosen Olympic sport, you can pick another one and try again. Where to watch: Netflix.
Downhill Racer (1969). Robert Redford plays a skier battling it out on the mountain and with his coach (Gene Hackman). The equipment may have changed, but we still like watching athletes go downhill fast. Where to watch: Hulu.
Blades of Glory (2007). One of these things is maybe not like the others, but, hey, Malvern’s Adam McKay directed this comedy about two disgraced male skaters (Will Ferrell and Jon Heder) who, after being banned from men’s single competition, exploit a loophole to become a pairs team. Where to watch: Available for rental on Amazon, Google Play, Amazon, and other services.