The Champion Within

Ages: 13 - 16Producer: Litton Entertainment

Some might argue that it is not talent, but resiliency, that helps true champions achieve their dreams. Teen viewers get a first-hand look at that concept in The Champion Within, a half-hour documentary-style program by The Golf Channel’s Lauren Thompson, featuring real-life pro and amateur athletes who overcame obstacles in life.

In the premiere episode, NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Ryan Reed reveals his dismay when a Type I Diabetes diagnosis threatened to end his racing career just as it was really taking off. Home video, original footage, and interviews with Ryan, his doctor, and his family members explain Ryan’s determined battle to cope with the disease and continue to pursue racing. A member of his crew is even trained to give Ryan an insulin injection during a pit stop.

Another segment profiles LPGA golfer Stacey Lewis, who shares the tale of her diagnosis, at age 11, of scoliosis, a defect causing a curvature of the spine. The sports-minded teen thought the back brace she was required to wear meant the end of her world. Golf, however, was an activity her doctors permitted her to do without her back brace and she excelled at the sport. It became her motivation as she faced surgery and the long road to recovery. Today, in addition to being a pro golfer, Lewis also serves as a spokesperson for the Scoliosis Research Society.

In another episode, golfer Jason Day recounts the tragic loss of his father to cancer at age twelve, and shares the importance of his golf coach who took over as father-figure and pushed him to succeed. Today, his coach continues by his side, as his caddy. Later in that episode, viewers meet the U.S. Wheelchair Rugby team and see how they prepare for competition.

The Champion Within inspires viewers—fans and athletes alike—to redefine what it means to be a sports hero and a winner.

Gina Catanzarite ©2018 Parents’ Choice

Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster’s Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.