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‘Enhanced’ Trailer: ESPN Films and Alex Gibney’s New Docuseries Explores Morally Complex Modern Sports Industry

The six-episode series previously screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, and will now be available on ESPN's own streaming site, ESPN+.


ESPN Films will make all six episodes of its new docuseries “Enhanced” available on Monday, July 16, exclusively on its streaming service ESPN+. Executive produced by Academy Award and Emmy-winning filmmaker, “30 for 30” alum Alex Gibney (“Catching Hell”), as well as Stacey Offman, Brad Herbert, Issac Bolden, and Rich Perello. The series includes offerings from filmmakers like Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Alison Klayman, and Paul Taublieb, all focused on some of the more controversial elements of modern sports.

The series, which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year, aims to take viewers “inside the secret world of modern sports training, technology, recovery and more, and raises questions about the characters, power struggles, and breakthrough innovations that are driving the greatest performances on the planet. The docuseries weaves together moments of greatness, inspiration, and heartbreak with behind-the-scenes looks at the laboratories, institutes ,and academies trying to turn athletic dreams into reality, and big bucks.”

“We’ve been talking to Alex for years about making something like ‘Enhanced’ – an edgy, forward-looking collection about the limits of the human body – and are so grateful to have worked with him and the talented roster of directors on this docuseries,” said Libby Geist, vice president and executive producer, ESPN Films and Original Content, in an official statement. “It’s a fresh new format for ESPN Films and we are continuing to push our own storytelling boundaries as our projects take on different forms.”

Gibney added, “I’ve always been fascinated with the will to win – often at any cost – as well as the scientific and ethical issues surrounding the attempts to push the body beyond natural limits. But in ‘Enhanced,’ there was also an opportunity to look beyond doping and changing the contours of the body to attempts to change the architecture of the mind in order to increase performance.”

Per ESPN, the six episodes are as follows:

“Skill,” Directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, explores the push and pull of Nature versus Nurture in the development of elite athletes. Featured subjects include Portland Trail Blazers basketball player CJ McCollum and U.S. Olympic sprinter Natasha Hastings.

“Algorithm Wars,” Directed by Jesse Sweet, focuses on the data revolution that transformed baseball 10 years ago, and now has become a disrupting force in nearly every arena of professional sports. Featured subjects include Seattle Reign soccer stars Megan Rapinoe and Beverly Yanez, New York Yankees pitcher Dellin Betances, and Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey

“Mind Gurus,” Directed by Paul Taublieb explores the mind-blowing work that promises to evolve the brain into an athletic machine, focusing on the mental training techniques deployed by professional athletes to secure a competitive advantage. Featured subjects include professional beach volleyball player and three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings, sports psychologist Michael Gervais, and Dutch extreme athlete Wim Hof.

“Power,” Directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, delves into the pursuit of power, from the history of the crackdown on steroids> to exploring controversial new technologies that threaten to change the record books, and the entire landscape of sports forever. Featured subjects include Jeff Novitzky, Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance for the UFC, bodybuilder Ryan Russo, and former powerlifter Tony Fitton.

“Endurance,” Directed by Paul Taublieb, asks what are the limits of endurance in the human body? One man, Yannis Pistiladis, the mad scientist of distance running, is determined to find out. Featuring gold medalist Kenenisa Bekele and Olympic marathon gold medalist and Kenyan distance runner Eliud Kipchoge

“Recovery,” Directed by Alison Klayman, takes a look at the medical advances in recovery and the ethical issues surrounding the topic, asking if we are any closer to “cheating” recovery. Notables featured include Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, Phoenix Suns basketball players Devin Booker and Jared Dudley, Brazilian Olympic gymnast Lais Souza, and former NFL player Jeff Novak.

Check out the trailer for “Enhanced” below.

Fans can subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month through the ESPN App and ESPN.com.

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