REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL, TV’s most-honored sports journalism series, returns with a special presentation when its 232nd edition debuts TUESDAY, JULY 26 (10:00–11:20 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.
For up-to-the-minute updates about REAL SPORTS, follow on Twitter at @RealSportsHBO or join the conversation using #RealSports.
For the first time in its 22-year history, REAL SPORTS presents a single-topic, extended investigation, taking a comprehensive look at the powerful and largely unchecked International Olympic Committee.
Commonly referred to as the IOC, the roughly hundred-member governing body of the modern Olympic movement claims devotion to peace and unity for humanity through sport. But months of interviews and research conducted around the world, spanning nine countries, reveal that some believe the IOC has strayed far from its progressive mission by transforming into an elitist organization whose massive power base and demands appear to be exacting a toll on the host cities, their citizens and the athletes they purport to serve.
Host Bryant Gumbel leads the REAL SPORTS investigation from Europe, the home of the International Olympic Committee, introducing the elite fraternity that is today’s IOC. Gumbel reports on the long history of allegations of ethical and legal violations over its century-long run and examines how a thirst for wealth, power, influence and status may have fueled that agenda.
Correspondent Jon Frankel reports from Rio de Janiero, Brazil, where the IOC promised, as it does every two years, that the Games would help make the host city a better place. But REAL SPORTS found a city struggling with a variety of issues: toxic, garbage-strewn water at venues where 40 events will be held; a failing public health system; the Zika crisis, which has caused brain damage in more than a thousand babies; and deep resentment from communities that were destroyed to make way for the Summer Games.
Correspondent Bernard Goldberg travels to Sochi, Russia, site of the 2014 Winter Games, where President Vladimir Putin spent billions of dollars meeting the demands of the IOC and transformed the subtropical beach resort into a winter sports paradise, a feat unattainable for most nations. Critics contend that those Games came at the expense of human rights and that President Putin leveraged post-Games nationalistic pride to allegedly prepare for war.
Correspondent David Scott visits Beijing, China to investigate the true human cost of the 2008 Summer Games and explore the charges by some that the IOC was in partnership with China’s Communist Party. REAL SPORTS uncovers a world of forced evictions, secret prisons and government censorship, revealed in gripping first-hand accounts of banned human rights activists. Now, the local organizing officials have been rewarded, as Beijing is set to host the Winter Olympic Games in 2022 and will once again be on the world’s stage.
Other HBO playdates: July 26 (3:35 a.m.), 28 (7:00 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT) and 30 (11:35 a.m.), and Aug. 1 (5:20 p.m.), 4 (9:30 a.m., 8:30 p.m.), 6 (11:50 p.m.), 7 (8:25 a.m.), 9 (4:10 a.m.), 10 (3:30 p.m.) and 19 (1:45 p.m.)
HBO2 playdates: July 27 (12:40 p.m.) and 31 (3:40 p.m.), and Aug. 2 (5:00 a.m.), 8 (8:00 p.m.), 9 (5:10 p.m.), 14 (2:30 p.m.) and 17 (10:50 a.m., 11:30 p.m.)
REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL is also available on HBO NOW, HBO GO and HBO On Demand.
On Jan. 19, REAL SPORTS received its third duPont Award for broadcast excellence from Columbia University. Previously honored in 2006 and 2012, the show was recognized for its eye-opening reporting on Qatar, which was awarded the 2022 World Cup amid a storm of controversy and corruption charges. REAL SPORTS is the only sports show to have been honored three times with a duPont Award.
In May, REAL SPORTS won its 17th Sports Emmy® Award for Outstanding Sports Journalism, for its report on domestic violence among athletes in mixed martial arts. The same month, the show was honored with its second George F. Peabody Award, for a 2015 segment on Africa’s criminal billion-dollar ivory enterprise. Correspondent David Scott, who joined the franchise in 2014, reported all three segments that have been honored this year.
Follow REAL SPORTS updates on HBO.com/realsports and facebook.com/realsports. Immediately following the debut of this month’s show on July 26, log on to HBO.com/realsports for a special overtime session hosted by Bryant Gumbel.
The executive producer of REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL is Rick Bernstein; Joe Perskie is senior producer.
Follow @HBOPR for more news and information.