With this month marking the 50th anniversary of the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre, E60 takes the opportunity to reflect on one of the darkest moments in sports history with The Survivor, reported by Jeremy Schaap and debuting on Tuesday, Sept. 20 (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN+).
Filmed on location in both Germany and Israel, The Survivor tells the poignant story of Shaul Ladany, an Israeli race walker whose life has been a study in endurance and fortitude.
Front Row spoke with the episode’s producer and director Frank Saraceno:
How do you tell a story that has already been told?
This was the biggest challenge we had. Though the story has been told, we felt that a relevant story is a relevant story. There are still so many people that don’t know this story, so we are educating a new audience. One way we decided to tell the story differently was through the eyes of an athlete from Munich. And that’s how this all began.
Tell me about your experience working with Shaul Ladany?
When I came across Shaul, his story jumped out at me. He was the only athlete on the team who was a Holocaust survivor, and this was a can’t-miss opportunity. Our conversations with him began in January and after bringing on an entirely Israeli crew, we began filming in February. We had the opportunity to conduct interviews in Shaul’s hometown of Omer, Tel Aviv, Fürstenfeldbruck and Bergen-Belsen, which was emotional, powerful and brought the story full circle. For someone who is not very emotional, it was interesting to see how moved he was by being there. And for me, it was powerful to see someone who continues to put one foot in front of the other after facing so much adversity.
What do you hope the viewers take away from the story?
We are still living in a world where violence is among us. I hope people watch the film and see how important it is that we stand up for what’s right. It’s a very relevant story for the times that we live in. More importantly, I wanted this to be a story of inspiration. I know through Shaul, people will watch this and feel a sense of hope.