The Olympic Channel’s upcoming documentary “The Iron Hammer” calls Chinese volleyball legend turned Team USA coach Lang Ping both a “national hero” and a “traitor” in a new trailer.
“The Iron Hammer” — titled after Ping’s famous nickname — is part of the Olympic Channel’s Five Rings Films documentary series, depicting iconic individuals and record-breaking teams from the modern Olympic era.
The doc follows Ping’s journey from being one of the most popular sports stars in China, to winning a gold medal for China in the 1984 Olympics, to coaching the U.S. Olympic team two decades later, to returning to her home country, where she transformed its struggling national team into Olympic champions.
“Lang Ping is like Michael Jordan in our minds,” one athlete says in the doc, while others call her a “champion,” “pioneer,” “badass” and “movie star.” But when Ping went on to coach the U.S. National team to a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, public opinion about her turned a corner.
“I was the first female foreigner to coach a major sport for Team USA,” she says in the clip above. Another voice adds, “Some of us perceived her as a traitor.”
Here is the official description for the film:
“In this rousing and personal documentary, director Joan Chen charts the inspiring life and career of Lang Ping, a fearless volleyball star who’s crafted one of the most remarkable journeys in modern China. After captaining the national team to a historic gold medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, Ping moved abroad to forge a career on her own terms. With never-before-seen footage, ‘The Iron Hammer’ explores how Lang Ping’s success coaching Team USA and China set a new example of female empowerment and global ambition for a country at a crossroads.”
Five Rings Films is produced for the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) global media platform by Frank Marshall and Mandalay Sports Media (MSM). Marshall’s producing credits also include the “Jason Bourne,” “Jurassic World” and “Indiana Jones” franchises. He executive produces “The Iron Hammer” alongside MSM’s Mike Tollin, whose recent credits include “The Last Dance.”