“Swimming is the same anywhere. You get on the blocks. You dive in. Your only goal is to touch the wall before anyone else.”
Touch the Wall is the story of two time Olympian, Kara Lynn Joyce and 14 year old Missy Franklin. While Franklin is just starting to excel, veteran Joyce switches swim teams and ends up being training partners with Franklin. Joyce enjoys the new start and Franklin finds an older sister to learn from. Later on Joyce ends up under the shadow of Franklin and the two are thrown apart. They reunite at Olympic Trials, both with different definitions of winning.
This triumphant story shows that the real lives of athletes aren’t always so glamorous. The movie starts out at a tattoo parlor. There’s no bells. There’s no whistles. There’s just two ordinary girls fulfilling their promise to get the Olympic rings tattooed on them.
Touch the Wall is a great representation of no matter how hard you work, you’re not always going to get the results you want. While Franklin's career is just beginning, Joyce’s seems to be ending as her goals are slipping away. This can be seen especially when she loses funding from USA Swimming by .03 of a second. This is a big deal to athletes at this level because their sport is their job. On the other hand, it lacks drama. The storyline is ordinary with no surprises drawing you in. It seems like it could be a sports special on NBC, advertising the sport rather than a documentary.
After watching this movie, deep down inside I felt as if I had known these two athletes my whole life. You get to see the highs and lows of both Franklin and Joyce and develop a personal connection. You get happy when they succeed and sad when they don't.
Overall, Touch the Wall is a great film filled with desire, pain, and endurance. It's a must see for all parents, athletes, and any sports lovers.