In the 2011 revolution that toppled the government of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, a group of rabid, politicized soccer fans known as the Ultras were a critical factor. Now, host Bryant Gumbel travels to Cairo in the midst of their most recent initiative, designed to bring down the current government led by the Muslim Brotherhood. Some view them as anarchists and others see them as spirited revolutionaries - either way, they remain a powerful force in the country's affairs. In this gripping REAL SPORTS account, Gumbel explores the Ultras' astounding story and key role in Egypt's turbulent transition to democracy.
Christmas Abbott is aiming to make history as the first woman on a Sprint Cup pit crew. At first glance, the petite 31-year-old doesn't seem like the type to do the laborious jobs required in the crew. Her strength and speed, however, make her a perfect fit for the pressure-filled job. At the height of the Iraq war, she worked as a contractor in the middle of a war zone, and began a new workout regimen called CrossFit. A few years later, back in the States, she became a bona fide CrossFit star. In this REAL SPORTS/Sports Illustrated collaboration, Jon Frankel goes one-on-one with the Virginia native to learn more about her fast-rising star in NASCAR.
In Oct. 2010, host Bryant Gumbel sat down with Florida Marlins president David Samson to discuss plans for a sparkling new ballpark, primarily funded by taxpayers. Samson expressed optimism that the deal would prove beneficial for the team and the city, and in the inaugural season at Marlins Ballpark the team increased its payroll and captured many top free agents. Unfortunately, the park in Little Havana failed to retain fans and following the 2012 season, the team traded away many star players, including Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle. Now the Miami Marlins are embroiled in controversy, with an SEC investigation looking into the stadium deal. REAL SPORTS host Bryant Gumbel heads back to Miami to reconnect with Samson and other principals in the ongoing dispute over the ballpark's financing.
Most talented amateur boxers turn pro with dreams of fame, fortune and title belts. New Yorker Boyd Melson's aspirations are slightly different. The 31-year-old boxes for his "soul mate," Christan Zaccagnino, who was paralyzed from the neck down in a diving accident at age ten. Melson donates every dollar he earns in the ring to spinal cord research with the hope that modern medicine will discover a way for Zaccagnino to walk again. A West Point graduate, he maintains a grueling schedule to train while working a typical nine-to-five office job. REAL SPORTS correspondent Frank Deford visits with Melson and Zaccagnino to learn more about this amazing tale of love and devotion. To contribute to Boyd and Christa's cause, please go to http://www.justadollarplease.org.