GOES ONE-ON-ONE WITH USC TROJANS HEAD FOOTBALL COACH LANE KIFFIN;
EXAMINES THE BAREFOOT RUNNING MOVEMENT;
PROFILES DOG SLEDDING LEGEND LANCE MACKEY;
AND REVISITS INSPIRATIONAL CONGENITAL AMPUTEE ATHLETE KYLE MAYNARD
WHEN THE EMMY®-WINNING SHOW RETURNS MAY 18, EXCLUSIVELY ON HBO
REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL presents more enterprising features and reporting when its 158th edition, available in HDTV, debuts TUESDAY, MAY 18 (10:00 p.m. ET/PT & 9:00 p.m. CT), exclusively on HBO.
*Lane Kiffin. Just 35 years old, Lane Kiffin has already held more high-profile coaching jobs in football than most successful coaches do in a lifetime. Since 2005, he has worked as USC Trojans offensive coordinator under Pete Carroll, head coach of the Oakland Raiders, head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers and, as of January 2010, head coach of the USC Trojans. Though renowned for his uncanny ability to recruit talent and invigorate a football program, Kiffin has yet to deliver on expectations, however. After controversial tenures and messy divorces in Oakland and Knoxville, Kiffin discusses his roller-coaster ride through coaching, including the reaction of Tennessee players and fans to his stunning departure, with correspondent Andrea Kremer in this REAL SPORTS/Sports Illustrated profile. Interviews include Lane Kiffin, his wife Layla and his father and defensive coordinator Monte.
Producer: Nick Dolin.
*Sole Runners. For decades, new models of running shoes have boasted ever-greater amounts of padding, cushioning, support systems, high-tech gel and air pockets, and fatter, wider, thicker soles. Runners welcomed the ever-more-complicated and ever-more-expensive new models with open arms, happy to spend up to several hundred dollars a pair. So why is the biggest movement in running suddenly all about less cushioning, or even running barefoot, with no padding at all? Some maintain there has never been any evidence that more and more padding prevents, or even reduces, the number of running injuries. And a group of runners who insist that the less padding the better – that the human foot is designed to run most effectively with direct contact to the ground – is gaining more and more followers. Correspondent Bernard Goldberg explores this hot-button topic and looks for answers to why less is more.
Producer: Chapman Downes.
*The Dogfather. Lance Mackey might be the toughest and most dominating athlete you’ve never heard of, unless you live in Alaska. A resident of Fox, Alaska, Mackey is considered one of the greatest dog mushers of all time, having won the famed Iditarod Sled Dog Race – covering more than 1,100 grueling miles across Alaska’s daunting wilderness in temperatures reaching 70 below zero – for an incredible fourth consecutive time. Correspondent Jon Frankel travels to Alaska to see this legendary tough guy in action on the trail and at his “Comeback Kennel,” aptly named for a man who rescues stray dogs and has himself battled alcohol, hard drugs and cancer. Meet the original dog whisperer, or as he’s known around Alaska, The Dogfather.
Mackey tells HBO that in the 10 days it takes to complete the Iditarod’s grueling course he forces himself to stay awake. Sleep deprivation is part of the training. Mackey: “You know, there’s small hallucinations and stuff. I hear voices sometimes. People calling out your name. You can kind of control it. The crazy part is if you start talking back and answering questions and having conversations.”
Producer: Tim Walker.
*Tough Enough. Many athletes are dedicated to their sports. Kyle Maynard, however, gives the word “dedication” a whole new meaning. When REAL SPORTS first profiled Maynard in 2004, he was a junior wrestler at Atlanta-area Collins Hill High School with a unique condition: He was born without arms below the biceps and without legs below the thighs. Despite his limitations, Maynard became one of Georgia’s top-ranked wrestlers, competing without the aid of prosthetics and against able-bodied opponents in the 103-pound division. Today, at age 24, his aspirations are even greater and his achievements even more inspirational. More than six years since their first meeting, correspondent Bernard Goldberg reconnects with Kyle Maynard and learns that he has fought in a mixed martial arts match, is a best-selling author and motivational speaker, owns a gym and is training to compete in the Ironman Triathlon.
Producers: Zehra Mamdani, Amani Martin.