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How “Mormon Yankee” Missionaries in Australia Impacted the Olympics

How “Mormon Yankee” Missionaries in Australia Impacted the Olympics

spirit of the game

“In 1956 a small group of missionaries made worldwide history when they took on the task of helping the struggling Australian basketball team prepare for the Olympic games. What unfolded was an electrifying story of sport, spirit, trials & faith and the unification of a nation.” – Mormon Yankees Facebook Page. The story of the Mormon Yankees, missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that served in Australia, truly is an incredible one.


My wife and I had the chance to attend the premiere of Mormon Yankees this past week, and it was a special treat. Not only were we able to meet the stars of the movie, including Aaron Jakubenko, we had the awesome chance to meet many of the original Mormon Yankees, the Mormon missionaries who were part of the basketball program that ran in Australia from 1956-1962. Robert Pedersen, seen below on the right, signed our book Mormon Yankees – Giants On and Off the Court which we are giving away to a lucky reader. Enter the giveaway HERE.

mormon yankees

There were so many fascinating scenes in the movie, like when Elder DeLyle Condie boards the ship heading for Australia just as Elder John H. Groberg does the same, to Condie’s meetup with USA Olympian Bill Russell (a big deal if you are a Boston Celtics fan like I am). There were also quite a few humorous moments that gave the crowd a good laugh, and there were plenty of lessons to be learned and moments to make you proud to be a Mormon if you are one.

I’m a pretty picky movie-goer and not the easiest to please, so I’m not going to say that this was the best movie ever. The movie was a little slow in developing, and watching actors depict how basketball was played in the 1950’s was for some reason difficult (I really loved basketball) but once things got rolling it was exciting. The more support we give these independent films with positive messages, the higher the chance that more funding will be available to recreate these amazing stories for all to see.

This movie is currently in theaters and you can find showtimes HERE. Go to the movie because the story is incredible. It’s one of those movies that makes you hop up, go to Google, and search for more information because the story is so intriguing. You can also purchase a copy of the book from Amazon by clicking the image below.

mormon yankee

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Don’t forget to enter the FREE giveaway below for a chance to win an autographed copy of the book Mormon Yankees – Giants On and Off the Court.