A feature film about short track speed skater Steven Bradbury, who became the first Australian to win a Winter Olympic gold medal at the 2002 Salt Lake Games after all his opponents crashed out, has been given the go-ahead.
The Courier-Mail reports that the film, Last Man Standing, has this month secured development funding from Screen Australia.
After a reported nine failed attempts to make such a film, the project is now moving forward though noted producers John and Michael Schwarz, screenwriter Stuart Beattie and director Kriv Stenders – the team behind the upcoming Australian film Danger Close:The Battle of Long Tan.
Four-time Olympian Bradbury, 45, will be actively involved in the production and is now travelling with Beattie, along with his family, so the screenwriter can get to know the character he is scripting.
Attention is now being focused on casting.
"We can’t just hire a pretty face, we need to find someone who can be athletic and yet have that charm, the larrikin aspect to Steve. It’s going to be a really fun role," Michael Schwarz said.
Bradbury glid, incredulous and unchallenged, over the line in the 1,000 metres final at the Salt Lake Ice Center after the rest of the field ahead of him, including home hope Apolo Ohno, came to grief on the final bend.
The win came two years after a second life-threatening injury incurred in competition, when he fractured his C4 and C5 vertebrae after tripping headfirst into the barriers over a skater who had fallen in front of him.
He spent a month and a half in a halo brace and needed four pins to be inserted in his skull and screws and plates bolted into his back and chest.
Doctors told Bradbury that he would not be able to take to the ice again, but he was determined to reach another Olympics.
During a 1994 World Cup event in Montreal, another skater's blade sliced through Bradbury's thighs, slicing all four of his quadriceps muscles, and he lost four pints of blood.
He required 111 stitches and was unable to move for three weeks.
"I was actually quite shocked by how much I didn’t know about the story," said John Schwarz.
"Everyone knows the expression 'Doing a Bradbury' which is a fluke, but he didn’t do a Bradbury.
"Steve went to four Olympics, he competed as an elite athlete for 14 years, he had these injuries where he almost died.
"It's always great when you can find a story that goes against everyone's perception.
"As film makers we are always looking for those stories and they are very rare to find.
"Hopefully it'll totally flip everyone's perception of what 'doing a Bradbury' is."