New Olympic Channel Documentary “The Margaret Lambert Story” Provides Intimate Portrait of Resilience and Reconciliation


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MADRID – In 1936, German-Jewish track & field athlete, Margaret “Gretel” Bergmann, was barred from competing in the Olympic Games despite being considered amongst the best in Germany. From her time as a decorated athlete to her place in history and reconciliation with the past, The Margaret Lambert Story is an intimate portrait of one woman’s personal journey in a new documentary from the Olympic Channel. The award-winning The Margaret Lambert Story premieres worldwide on Thursday, 9 November on the Olympic Channel.

The Olympic Channel premiere of the short documentary took place the day before at the Villa located on the street “Gretel-Bergmann-Weg” in Olympiapark in Berlin, Germany. The event was attended by special guests Walther Troeger, who appears in the film, German high jumping legend Heike Henkel, and an audience that included many members representing the local sports community.

The short documentary has been accepted into 14 film festivals and has received several honours from the industry including wins at the Cleveland International Film Festival, Queensworld Film Festival and the Washington Jewish Film Festival.

In The Margaret Lambert Story (23 min./documentary), Margaret, at 102 years old and just prior to her death in July 2017, tells her story with clarity and heart alongside various members of the international sports community who are an integral part of keeping her story alive.

Born Margarethe Bergmann in Laupheim, Germany, Margaret “Gretel” Lambert (12 April 1914 – 25 July 2017) was a Jewish track and field athlete poised to represent her Germany in the 1936 Olympic Games. Days before the competition, Lambert, one of the best female high jumpers in the world at the time, was given a letter stating she was “disqualified” and replaced with a mysterious jumper whose participation raised more questions than answers.

Fearing her future after her expulsion from the Olympic Games and the ever-increasing power of the Nazi regime in Germany, Lambert fled to the United States to create a new life for herself and vowed to never return to Germany. Her Olympic career was over on that fateful day in 1936, but her story was far from finished.

In addition to insight from her son Gary Lambert, The Margaret Lambert Story also features commentary from journalist Ira Berkow, Walther Troeger (former President of the German National Olympic Committee), Dagmar Freitag (Chairwoman of the Sports Committee of the German Bundestag), and Susan D. Bachrach (Curator of Special Exhibitions at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.)

“Margaret Lambert’s attitude and acceptance of her history is a very compelling story,” said Mark Parkman, General Manager of the IOC’s global Olympic Channel. “Her story also highlights the relevance of the Olympic Movement’s ideals to the challenges of today’s world, and we are honored to share Margaret’s story with a new generation.”

The Margaret Lambert Story is the first of three films in the Olympic Channel Original Series Foul Play, a far-reaching documentary series that explores controversial subjects including religion, gender, and race within the context of sports and the Olympic Movement. Additional subjects will be announced in the coming months.

Foul Play was produced exclusively for the Olympic Channel by VICE Media.

The Olympic Channel is a multiplatform media destination where fans can experience the power of sport and the excitement of the Olympic Games all year round, and is available worldwide via mobile apps for Android and iOS devices and at olympicchannel.com.

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About the Olympic Channel

The Olympic Channel is a multi-platform destination where fans can discover, engage and share in the power of sport and the excitement of the Olympic Games all year round. Offering original programming, news, live sports events and highlights, the Olympic Channel provides additional exposure for sports and athletes 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in 11 languages. The Olympic Channel was launched in August 2016 in support of the IOC’s goal, set out in Olympic Agenda 2020, of providing a new way to engage younger generations, fans and new audiences with the Olympic Movement. Founding Partners supporting the Olympic Channel are Worldwide TOP Partners Bridgestone, Toyota and Alibaba. The Olympic Channel is available worldwide via mobile apps for Android and iOS devices and at olympicchannel.com.

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Editor’s Note

A short trailer for The Margaret Lambert Story can be watched HERE as well as on YouTube. The full episode can be viewed HERE on the Olympic Channel.