This directorial debut of Chinatown Oscar winner Robert Towne is a bracing celebration of athletes who live the way they play: with total passion. Mariel Hemingway plays a promising hurdler who finds needed emotional and athletic seasoning with a caring mentor (Patrice Donnelly). After the two fall in love, their relationship is threatened as both vie for a spot on the U. S. Olympic team. Personal Best's human insights make it compelling for more than just sports fans. Months of training build into explosive moments of competitive truth. Cameras capture the charged atmosphere of the 1980 Olympic Trials. And world-class athletes (including Olympians Donnelly, Jodi Anderson and Kenny Moore) excel as actors, bringing to the set the same poise they show on the track.