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.

(L-R) Mikael Lindnord, Tom Rinaldi, Arthur, Helena Lindnord, Kristen Lappas in Sweden during the shooting of “Arthur.” (Photo courtesy Kristen Lappas)
(L-R) Mikael Lindnord, Tom Rinaldi, Arthur, Helena Lindnord, Kristen Lappas in Sweden during the shooting of “Arthur.” (Kristen Lappas/ESPN)

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.

ESPN Content receives eight NAMIC Vision Awards

ESPN has received eight nominations for the 2017 NAMIC Vision Awards from the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC). Presented in partnership with NAMIC – Southern California, the awards honor original and digital programming content that depicts the lives, spirit, and contributions of people of color and best reflects the ethnic and cultural diversity of the viewing audience.

ESPN’s eight nominations by category:

Reality
SC Featured: Chubbtown
SC Featured: Inky Johnson
SportsCenter: Mother of Hampton Lacrosse
Sunday NFL Countdown: Jarrius Robertson

Reality – Social Issues
E:60: Ibtihaj Muhammad, Olympic Trailblazer
SportsCenter: Rise Up: A SportsCenter Special

Sports
E:60: Mike Evans – Tears of the Son
SC Featured: The Meaning of Miyah

“NAMIC is honored to continue the tradition of honoring original content that defies stereotypes, while telling compelling stories of cultural diversity and life experiences,” said Eglon E. Simons, President and CEO, NAMIC. “This year’s nominees must be applauded for their excellence and commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion on and off screen.”

Winners will be announced in April.

By Andy Hall

Journalism on Display

  • Reporter Tisha Thompson made her Outside the Lines debut on Wednesday with a preview of her interview with transgender wrestler Mack Beggs. The full interview will air on Sunday’s OTL at 9 a.m. on ESPN. Beggs opens up to Thompson about the challenges he faces as a transgender teen and gaining national attention as a controversial athlete after he won the Texas state wrestling championship. Thompson joins Bob Ley in studio to discuss Beggs’ first national television interview in depth.
  • To celebrate “Women Making History Month” espnW writer Allison Glock wrote a poem that inspired the creation of a short film called “When I Play“. The film celebrates and gives voice to women and girls who see their athleticism as a way to reclaim themselves, to find themselves, and to embrace their power. ESPN will celebrate “Women Making History Month” throughout March with more than 140 hours of content highlighting women across many platforms, as well as original content appearing on espnW and other ESPN platforms.
  • Senior writer Jesse Washington proves that height is only a number in his story for The Undefeated. Washington highlights some of basketball’s most impressive players, including Boston Celtics standout Isaiah Thomas and Central Michigan’s Marcus Keene. Each stands 5-feet, 9-inches tall.
  • Panelists on Sunday morning’s The Sports Reporters (9:30 a.m., ESPN) will be Mike Lupica (host), Frank Isola, Bob Ryan and Gene Wojciechowski.