Vice Sports, a channel dedicated to telling stories beyond the game, is debuting a video and editorial series, The 16 Project, that profiles 16 different athletes who were 16 years old during 2017 calendar year.
The young athletes featured are rising stars in their respective sports and the profiles show that turning 16 is a pivotal moment their careers. The project is a look into the stress and excitement that comes along with transitioning from prodigy to pro.
The series, presented by Michelin, is an intimate snapshot of young athletes as they prepare for the next stage of their athletic career, whether it’s playing Division 1 collegiate sports or representing their countries on the international stage. The young competitors selected for the series cover a wide range of demographics, from inner city kids to tennis academy students.
In the first episode (watch video above) Vice Sports follows world record-holding British swimmer Ellie Robinson’s rise to fame and gold-medal performance at the Paralympics in Rio. Born with a form of dwarfism known as cartilage-hair hypoplasia (CHH), Robinson has quickly become one of the best para-swimmers in the world.
Vice Sports is also debuting two reported features. One is a profile of Kayvon Thibodeaux, the top overall college football recruit for 2019. Caught between his rough south Los Angeles community and the $30,900-a-year private school in the suburbs that recruited him, it’s a look at a star athlete trying to make good for his community.
The second is the story of boxer Lorenzo Simpson, from West Baltimore who looks to qualify for the 2020 Olympics.
Future installments of the series will profile other young athletic prodigies, ranging from CJ Cummings, who has been hailed as the ‘Michael Jordan of Weightlifting’ and one of the youngest world record holders in the sport, to Cole Anthony, who at 16 is already the top basketball point guard prospect in his class.
“Turning 16 is the pivotal time for young athletes, whether they’re looking to play collegiate sports or turn pro,” said Vice Sports publisher Will Kiersky. “We wanted to use this series as a way to examine the possibilities and pitfalls these kids face and meet the next generation of stars in the process.”