Original title: Sport : le revers de la médaille

English title: The Harder they Fall
90 minutes


Arte France/Germany


Arte France, Yuzu Productions, Découpages


Xavier Deleu and Yonathan Kellerman

Date of first broadcast 

June 10, 2014

In the 21st century, sports are legion. A multibillion-dollar industry fed by television rights, sportswear sales, fashion subcultures, and video games: today’s athletes are the icons of an expanding economic force.
A force fuelled by a well-oiled grinding machine, where athletes are constantly being pushed to unfathomable limits. Today’s sportsmen and women must deliver more goals, faster times, harder hits, sharper tackles… and play longer seasons, added tournaments while heeding to the public’s insatiable lust for greater performances. And they are having an increasingly hard time keeping up with it all.
After they retire, many athletes are broken. When cyclists feel obliged to dope, when hockey players start committing suicide, and when football players lose their minds to dementia, there comes a time to ask ourselves: has professional sport gone too far?

Serge Betsen, Marion Bartoli, Colin Jackson, Christine Arron, Laurent Brochard, Jean-Pierre Papin, Gennaro Gattuso, Kyle Turley, Jutta Gottschalk-Groll, Corina Gottschalk, Maurizio Vasino, Gianluca De Ponti, Giovanni Ziviani, Aya Cissoko, Antonio Rossi, Brad Hopkins, Perdita Felicien, Chantal Petitclerc, Ines Geipel, Christian Schenk, Henning Fritz, Derek Redmond, Harry Carson, Andreas Krieger
Christiane Ayotte, Perikles Simon, Dario D’Ottavio, Massimiliano Castellani, Jean-François Bourg, Claire Carrier, Lili-Naz Hazrati.

A sprinter takes off during a slow motion sequence shot with a high-speed Phantom camera.

Laurent Brochard readies up for a 24-hour race at Le Mans.

1997 World Champion cyclist Laurent Brochard at the 24h du Mans vélo.

FIFA 2006 World Champion Gennaro Gattuso.

Neuropathologist Lili-Naz Hazrati autopsies a brain from a former football player.

2-time Pro Bowl Tennessee Titan Brad Hopkins.

Former 110m hurdles World Record holder Colin Jackson.

Swimmer Jutta Gottschalk-Groll was unknowingly doped under East Germany's State Plan 14.25.

Andreas Krieger, formerly Heidi Krieger, the 1986 European shot put champion, suffered from the effects of massive amounts of steroids.

Jean-Pierre Papin, laureate of the 1991 Golden Ball.

2003 100m hurdles world champion Perdita Felicien

14-time Paralympic Champion Chantal Petitclerc.

Former New Orleans Saint Kyle Turley suffers from the debilitating effects of post-concussion syndrome.

Former Italian football player Maurizio Vasino is paralysed by ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).

Former Italian football player Maurizio Vasino is paralysed by ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).