Global Sports Development and Sidewinder Films Partner with UC Speaks Up to Prevent Campus Sexual Assault

The collaboration will offer University of California students, faculty, and staff virtual screenings of Emmy-nominated At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal combined with discussion panels tailored to college communities.

Los Angeles, California – October 6, 2020 – A new partnership between Courage First and UC Speaks Up offers University of California (UC) students the opportunity to participate in virtual screenings and panel discussions of At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal (ATHOG) to raise awareness about sexual violence prevention and resources available to survivors. The first virtual discussion will take place October 14th at 6 pm PDT.

Courage First is an abuse-prevention initiative from ATHOG producers Global Sports Development and Sidewinder Films. Developed in response to the systemic problems in elite gymnastics that allowed a predator to abuse hundreds of athletes over decades, the program and the film have been part of a nationwide educational screening tour aimed at sparking meaningful conversations about abuse in sport. 

Dr. Jennifer Wagman, professor at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health and Principal Investigator of UC Speaks Up – a campus-based violence prevention initiative of the UC Global Health Institute’s Center of Expertise on Women’s Health, Gender and Empowerment – hosted an ATHOG screening panel for her graduate class in May 2020. 

Post-screening surveys indicated that 97% of the students who watched ATHOG better understood how predators operate, 96% better understood the power dynamics of abuse, and 93% better understood the mechanics of institutional betrayal after participating in the panel.

With UC Speaks Up, Wagman and her team lead an ongoing research project to explore UC student attitudes and awareness around sexual violence, including within the NCAA sports system. “Many of the issues addressed in ATHOG came up in our research with UC student-athletes. For instance, most student-athletes, particularly women, who experienced sexual abuse told us they decided against reporting the violence because their abuser held more power than they did and/or they feared retaliation – either through loss of playtime/ability to compete or loss of scholarship funding. Partnering with Courage First offers a perfect opportunity to raise awareness about these important issues and think critically about solutions.”

Dr. Steven Ungerleider, producer of ATHOG and board member for Global Sports Development and Sidewinder Films, addressed the need for campus education. “At the Heart of Gold highlights very serious issues in the way institutions handle abuse prevention and response, particularly in athletics. Our partnership with UC Speaks Up can educate not only students but bring awareness to faculty and staff as well.”

“We are grateful to UC Speaks Up for this tremendous opportunity to engage with thousands of students across the UC system,” said David Ulich, producer of ATHOG and Global Sports Development and Sidewinder Films board member. “By working with Courage First and accessing our ready-made resources, student groups, athletic teams, and professors can gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics around sexual abuse and assault, particularly on college campuses.”

Any student group, class, department, team, or organization in the UC system can request a screening and discussion, as offered through this partnership between Courage First and UC Speaks Up. Please visit or contact Kamila Tan at to learn more.

About Global Sports Development and Sidewinder Films

The Foundation for Global Sports Development and Sidewinder Films leverage the impact of philanthropy and the power of film to promote sportsmanship, education, fair play and ethics among the world's youth. Giving special emphasis to groups and communities that are most in need or most underserved by current programs, the foundation strives to include women, minorities, and youth in its mission. The foundation’s media division, Sidewinder Films, supports this mission by producing groundbreaking documentaries that bring untold stories to the international community.  Visit and to learn more.

Contact: Brooke Bumgardner
(541) 683-9278