Some of the most notable Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel segments aren’t on typical North American professional sports. Over 25 years and more than 300 episodes, the show has often gone outside the box, covering everything from jetpacks to competitive bird watching to skateboarding (many times) and backcountry skiing. On Tuesday’s episode (premiering on HBO at 10 p.m. ET/PT), they have a powerful new piece on mountain climbing, with correspondent Jon Frankel spotlighting former U.S. Marine Corps sergeant Kirstie Ennis preparing to climb Mount Everest (the last of the famed Seven Summits she hasn’t yet done) 10 years after losing her leg following a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. Here’s a clip:
That clip has Ennis talk about what appeals to her about climbing, and some of that is proving doubters wrong.
“I like the suffering, I like the struggle, I like the turmoil, I like being able to be the calm one in a time of chaos. …I like people looking at me and being like ‘She’s small, she’s a woman, she has one leg,’ and me being like ‘All right.’ I like being the underdog. I like being able to prove people wrong. I really like being able to give people my middle finger and say ‘I told you so.'”
But the most notable part of that is her raw comments on the crash, which come at 1:30:
“That crash took everything from me. My purpose, my memory, my military career, my leg, my morale, my team, my brotherhood, my community. That crash robbed me.”
This is quite a notable story, and Frankel and producer Jordan Kronick do a good job of digging into it. There’s much more on this episode of Real Sports too, including Mary Carillo exploring pickleball, David Scott reporting on the summer basketball Drew League in Los Angeles, and Frankel updating a past segment he did on abuse of youth officials and officials leaving the game as a result. It’s worth checking out.
The latest episode of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel debuts on HBO at 10 p.m. ET/PT Tuesday (Oct. 25), and is also available on HBO Max.