Golden Will
Starring: Nancy Anne Sakovich, Dylan Neal, Cedric Smith, Susan Hogan, Kate Trotter, Eugene Robert Glazer, Amanda Tapping
Director: Eric Till
Year of release: 1996
Country: Canada
Screen shots

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Plot summary
Golden Will: The Silken Laumann story is a made for Televsion movie based on the story of Canadian Silken Laumann (Sakovich), her dysfunctional family life, her various triumphs and tragedies, and culminating in her comeback from a near-crippling rowing accident.

The upsetting homelife is the twist in Golden Will, written by Joy Fielding, directed by Eric Till, with Nancy Anne Sakovich in the title role. Silken and her sister Daniele (who was her partner in the `84 L.A. Olympics) are traumatised by the unhappiness of their mother, an artist who abandons them for as long as a year at a time.

Golden Will breaks the mold of biofilms, which tend to use "composites" - made-up characters with the traits of several real-life ones. Though a couple of names have been changed, the people close to Silken are here: Her best friend Marilyn Copeland, boyfriend (now husband) John Wallace and her demanding coach Mike Spracklen.

The film starts out dramatic as it focuses on some of the things that drove her on, but quickly becomes a run-of-the-mill docudrama with episodic highlights that never quite form a narrative whole.

Golden will : the Silken Laumann story [video recording]. - Produced by Carol Reynolds Productions in association with Baton Broadcasting. - Toronto : Carol Reynolds Productions, 1995. - 1 cassette, 95 min., VHS 1/2 in. - Col. - Held by National Archives of Canada. - Item number 258165

Rowing info

Silken started rowing competitively at age 17, and soon advanced through the world sculling ranks. She won bronze at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics in the double sculls with her sister Daniele, and moved to Victoria BC to train with the Canadian national team. With her gold in the World Championships single sculls in 1991, the stage was set for the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.

In May 1992, her hopes of Olympic gold were shattered. In a practice session for a pre-Olympic regatta in Germany, another boat swerved across the lanes, colliding with Silken's and slicing her leg muscles through to the bone.

With only ten weeks until the Olympics, walking, let alone competition, seemed out of the question. After operations in Germany and in Canada to pin bones and reattach muscles, she showed incredible determination and courage to work her leg back into shape in time to row, and to win the Olympic bronze in singles.

That was the inspiration for ex-CBC VP-turned-producer Carol Reynolds to make a movie of Laumann's life.

Laumann was curious about the actress who'd portray her. But she didn't meet Nancy Sakovich until the movie was finished filming.

"The timing was awkward. The shooting was right before Olympic trials, and I was so busy I never even got on set. When I first saw a picture of Nancy I thought `She doesn't look anything like me!' She had long brown curly hair and she was beautiful."

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