Sprint Season 1 Review – Netflix documentary races into pole position

Season 1



Episode Guide



There’s something electric about athletics. While many see this as sprinting round a track, throwing as far as you can or jumping into a sandpit, there’s so much more that goes unseen. And that’s perhaps pretty ironic given the TV coverage is pretty much non-existent outside of a few Diamond League games. That’s a shame because as someone who has been to some of these Diamond events, the atmosphere is insanely good.

Brought together from the same team that made Break Point and other docu-series of its kind, Sprint follows 100 meter and 200 meter sprinters on their quest for glory. Specifically, we see them compete across the aforementioned Diamond League, a top competition for track and field athletes which they use to hone their skills before the Olympic games.

There are 15 different competition days, starting in China and eventually ending in Brussels, although iconic countries including London, Budapest and Paris all get a fair amount of the spotlight here in this series as the show tackles the 2023 Diamond League circuit.

Speaking of spotlight, the series focuses on different sprinters but in all honestly, there’s an intense spotlight on the US athletes who have most of the screen-time. Noah Lyles eats up the limelight here, which kinda makes sense given he’s the Connor McGregor of the sprinting world. He even reaffirms his status in episode 1, telling audiences that he wants to be a huge personality and put track and field on the map. Alongside Lyle, other athletes include Shericka Jackson, Gabby Thomas, Marcell Jacobs and Zharnel Hughes.

Each episode takes the general idea of the Diamond League sprints, using the big races to close out each episode while following two or three athletes as they prep for that race. We see more of their history, the challenges they’ve had up until this point and what they aim to achieve through track and field. Understanding Hughes’ mindset after his false-start DQ in Tokyo helps to understand the mental aspect of the sport. Similarly, seeing Shericka chasing World Records and eating up the competition contrasts that beautifully.

Fleshing out the docu-series with the usual array of dramatic orchestral music and archival footage are talking head interviews. These are not only from the athletes themselves but also from Olympic medallists like Michael Johnson and Usain Bolt.

We do get into the training and nutrition side of things but if I’m being super critical, it would have been nice to see the difference between fuelling for longer endurance sports VS sprinting. As a big geek when it comes to the science side of things, it would have been nice to understand how something as simple as drinking coffee (which Mo Farah reportedly did with other athletes back in the day) or eating less carbs can impact training.

Furthermore, the slanted focus on the US means a lot of the other sprinters from other countries don’t get as much screen-time as they’re constantly competing for air-time against the US athletes. It’s not a dealbreaker but it is something to consider.

With a second season already greenlit (and a teaser too confirming it’ll come after the Olympic Games this year), Sprint races into pole position as one of the best sport docu-series that the team have created. It still doesn’t touch Drive to Survive in terms of pure drama and excitement, but sprinting is undoubtedly an enticing watch. Whether you’re a fan of track and field or not, Sprint is definitely worth checking out.

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  • Verdict - 8/10

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