My Way to Olympia

PBS Premiere: July 7, 2014Check the broadcast schedule »

In Context

Born with severely shortened arms after his mother took thalidomide (a drug that was commonly used in the 1950s and 1960s to treat nausea in pregnant women, but was later discovered to cause birth defects) while pregnant with him, Niko von Glasow started his filmmaking career making coffee for German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder. He went on to study film at New York University and the Lodz Film School in Poland. In NoBody's Perfect (2008), he convinced 11 other people born with disabilities from thalidomide to pose for a nude calendar. The film won the German Film Award for Best Documentary, brought him worldwide recognition and helped fuel a successful campaign to increase compensation for the 2,700 surviving victims of thalidomide in Germany. Von Glasow also holds talks and workshops on screenwriting and directing worldwide. His distaste for athletics is rooted in his frustrations as a disabled child forced to play sports. With My Way To Olympia, von Glasow sets out to discover the motivations of Paralympic athletes and challenge his own assumptions.


» DW. "Film About Thalidomide Victims Breaks Emotional Taboos."

» Palladio Film. "Niko von Glasow."