LOS ANGELES and BOSTON, Aug. 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Religion of Sports ("ROS"), the Emmy Award-winning sports media company, today announced "False Idol," a new narrative podcast series re-examining the life of Oscar Pistorius, the South African Paralympic sprinter who was once considered the greatest Paralympian of all time. He made history at the 2012 London Games, becoming the first amputee sprinter to compete at the Olympics. Six months later he was arrested for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
Many people held up Pistorius as a hero for his triumphs on the track, until he did the unthinkable. But should he have been idolized in the first place? "False Idol" will explore Pistorius' rise and the tragic events that followed, in addition to complex issues like hero worship, gender-based violence, and race in post-Apartheid South Africa. "False Idol" tells the story through the eyes of the people Pistorius irrevocably changed, and brings needed attention to the life of Reeva Steenkamp.
The podcast is brought to audiences in partnership with public media organization PRX and is available free on-demand across all major podcast listening platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, and Spotify.
Episodes one and two of the seven-part series will premiere on August 26, with new episodes released weekly through September 30. Episode one will tell the story of Pistorius' rise, through the first-person perspective of Marlon Shirley and Brian Frasure, stars of the Paralympics in the early 2000s, who pushed the sport to new heights and raised questions about Pistorius as a competitor. Episode two delves into the glorification of Pistorius in South Africa, as he advanced in the sport while ethical questions about his competitive advantage continued to mount.
Over the course of the series, "False Idol" will feature interviews with Steenkamp's cousin, Kim Martin; Andrea Johnson, who served as a prosecutor on the Pistorius case; and Trish Taylor, the mother of Samantha Taylor, Pistorius' former girlfriend. The series will also feature interviews with experts and journalists including former Olympian Geraldine Pillay; Dr. Peter Weyand and Dr. Matthew Bundle, who have closely studied high-speed running performance and Pistorius' alleged advantage on the track; BBC journalist and Paralympics broadcaster Clare Balding; former International Association of Athletics Federations press secretary Nick Davies; New York Times Magazine journalist Michael Sokolove; former CNN International sports anchor Graeme Joffe; and Sisonke Msimang, whose work focuses on race, gender, and democracy.
"False Idol" is hosted by Tim Rohan. Rohan previously worked with The New York Times and Sports Illustrated as a reporter covering sports at the intersection of culture, politics, and crime. At Sports Illustrated, Rohan also served as the host of "Fall of A Titan," a nine-part podcast series re-examining the death of NFL quarterback Steve McNair. The "False Idol" team also includes senior producer Kate McAuliffe(previously of the ABC News podcast "Truth and Lies: Jeffrey Epstein"), producer Timothy Lou Ly (previously of The Moth), story editor Michael Garofalo (previously of StoryCorps) and Co-Executive Producer of Audio at Religion of Sports, Adam Schlossman.
"'False Idol' aims to deconstruct the idea of Pistorious as a hero while exploring how a tragedy like the death of Reeva Steenkamp could have happened," said Rohan. "Thank you to all who spoke with us and shared their perspectives to help us tell this important story."
"With each project, Religion of Sports continues to explore how sports can challenge the public to reassess preconceived notions on complex issues that can only be found beyond the field," said Adam Schlossman, Co-Executive Producer of Audio at Religion of Sports. "False Idol' serves as a profound example of the concentrated efforts of our production team."
False Idol marks the latest narrative audio release from Religion of Sports and PRX as part of an extensive partnership to distribute compelling, insightful stories that explore the spiritual dynamics between sports and human achievement. This spring, ROS and PRX released two new critically-acclaimed narrative podcasts: "Crushed", which recounted the 1998 MLB Home Run chase and delved deep into the league's steroid era, and "Lost In Sports", a show on a quest to solve sports' biggest untold mysteries. Religion of Sports is also the producer of "Now For Tomorrow," hosted by bestselling author Deepak Chopra.
About Religion of Sports Religion of Sports is an Emmy Award-winning sports media company co-founded by Tom Brady, Gotham Chopra, and Michael Strahan, built on the thesis that sports are religion. The company produces content focused on a single narrative of 'Why Sports Matter' to explore greatness and human potential. Religion of Sports has produced hundreds of thousands of hours of content across mediums, from short-form video to podcasts to feature films, including its flagship "Religion of Sports" series, "Shut Up and Dribble," "Tom vs. Time," and "Greatness Code." For more information, visit religionofsports.com.
About PRX PRX is a public media organization shaping the future of audio by producing and distributing content, building technology, and training talented, independent producers. With an award-winning portfolio of iconic public radio programs such as 'The World," "This American Life," "The Moth Radio Hour," "Latino USA" "Snap Judgment," and "Reveal," PRX is also home to a growing body of podcast productions, including via the Radiotopia podcast network and the TRAX podcast network for tweens. More at PRX.org.