EDITORS NOTE: In addition to the TV feature, “Arthur” will mark the debut of the new SC Featured podcast series. The first episode, hosted by Jen Lada with Tom Rinaldi and Kristen Lappas, will be posted on Sunday.
In the Sunday, March 5, SC Featured segment on SportsCenter, Tom Rinaldi tells the amazing story of “Arthur,” an unlikely bond formed between a group of athletes from Sweden and a stray and wounded dog.
During the 2014 Adventure Racing World Championships in Ecuador, the Swedish racers had their sights set on a gold medal, but instead, Arthur came into their lives. The narrative spans from the depths of the Amazon jungle to a small village in Sweden and captures the timeless love between dog and human. The feature will debut in the 10 a.m. ET edition of SportsCenterand re-air in other editions throughout the day.
Kristen Lappas produced the story for the ESPN Features Unit. She learned about Arthur from a cousin living in Stockholm, and after getting a “go” from her department’s leadership, she and Rinaldi traveled to Sweden last August. Front Row spoke to her about making the piece:
What struck you about this story?
The bond between a dog and a human is something that so many people can relate to and this was that times 100. It took a lot of logistics to plan 10 days in Sweden and for the resources to make the story what it could be, and the more I read about it and the more I talked to the main characters and the people on the team I just had this feeling that this would be a really unique story for our audience and a cool one for the SC Featured brand. When we returned from Sweden, we knew we had something special.
How were you able to get video and images from the race?
I was put in touch with a gentleman who owns a production company in Ecuador, and they were able to give us a lot of the video from the race that really puts you in the moment. And it was like lightning in a bottle: We got that surveillance shot of the first time Arthur was spotted in the race. The biggest component was that there was a team still photographer and he had the beautiful images of the dog with the team. We reached out to a lot of different people, and we were able to put different pieces of the puzzle together to tell the whole story.
What was it about Arthur?
He’s not your stereotypical “cute dog” but that’s kind of what gives him the character – his personality and demeanor are just so wonderful. When they first saw him, he was bleeding, and had flies buzzing around him, and was in really bad condition, and the fact that that didn’t deter them from taking care of him is a really important part of the story.