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Strong!

"Strong!" is an entertaining portrait of Cheryl Haworth, a 2000 bronze medalist in women's weightlifting, as she trains for her third and final Olympics and faces a life no longer focused on the sport.

“Strong!” is an entertaining portrait of Cheryl Haworth, a 2000 bronze medalist in women’s weightlifting, as she trains for her third and final Olympics and faces a life no longer focused on the sport. An engaging subject and a seldom-scrutinized athletic competition (at least on the distaff side, which is still fairly new to the Games) make Julie Wyman’s documentary a fun watch, even though there’s ultimately not a great deal of narrative drive or deeper insight. Pic is playing scattered one-off theatrical dates around the country the week before its July 26 broadcast premiere on PBS’ “Independent Lens.”

A prizewinner from age 15, the Savannah, Ga., resident became a national celebrity two years later following her 2000 Sydney Olympics success, then placed sixth in Athens in 2004. A “super-heavyweight” at about 300 pounds, she’s self-assured and comfortable discussing how “being big” is “very good for what I do.” Injuries in that athletic pursuit being common, however, her competitive career is inevitably winding toward an end; while prepping for a last hurrah in Beijing, she considers different career paths. Some stylized studio-shot sequences and brief animation diversify a well-crafted package.

Strong!

  • Production: An ITVS presentation. Produced by Julie Wyman. Executive producer, Vivian Kleiman. Directed by Julie Wyman.
  • Crew: Camera (color, HD), Anne Etheridge, Wyman; editors, Vicky Funari, Jennifer Chinlund; music, Beth Custer, Zack Martin; production designer, Josh Short. Reviewed at Frameline (Documentaries), San Francisco, June 17, 2012. (Also in SilverDocs Film Festival.) Running time: 75 MIN.
  • With: With: Cheryl Haworth, Sheila Haworth, Bob Haworth, Katie Haworth, Beth Haworth, Carissa Gump, Michael Cohen.
  • Music By: