Olympic film historian & track enthusiast Bud Greenspan dies


Tom Surber
Media Information Manager
USA Track & Field

INDIANAPOLIS - World renowned Olympic Games film producer, director and writer Bud Greenspan, who was a longtime friend to USA Track & Field, died Saturday afternoon at his home in New York City from Parkinson's disease. He was 84.

Throughout a remarkable career that spanned six decades, Greenspan chronicled the Olympic Games through numerous film documentaries that told inspirational stories of athletes overcoming a variety of challenges to compete on the world's largest athletic stage.

His first documentary was the legendary 1964 film "Jesse Owens Returns to Berlin" which features archival footage of the 1936 Olympic Games, along with Owens' narration of his involvement with the landmark event.Throughout the 2009 outdoor athletics season, USA Track & Field promoted Team USA's return to the 1936 Olympic Stadium in Berlin for that year's World Outdoor Championships by honoring Owens in all its domestic television broadcasts. In addition, USATF and Greenspan joined forces in arranging for a special showing of "Jesse Owens Returns to Berlin" in front of an appreciative audience at its national championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Greenspan, who published three books on the Olympic Games, also wrote Olympic stories for newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Sports Illustrated and Parade Magazine.

Greenspan was the recipient of numerous awards throughout his career including seven Emmy Awards, and lifetime achievement awards from the Directors Guild of America and the National Academy for Television Arts and Sciences. He was inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame in 1984 as a special contributor, and in 1985 he was presented "The Olympic Order" by former International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch for his contributions in furthering the Olympic movement.