II Olympiad

The Olympic Century

Book 3
Warwick Press Inc.
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Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic movement, hoped to cement the future of the Games with a triumphant celebration of the second Olympiad in his native Paris in 1900. The II Olympiad-Paris 1900, the third volume in The Olympic Century series, tells the story of a fledgling movement caught up in the whirlwind of the greatest city of the age at the height of the Belle Epoch.

The backdrop for the book is the decadent Paris of the Moulin Rouge and the Folies Bergeres, the art of Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse and Gauguin, and the revolutionary “Metro” with its now iconic Art Nouveau architecture. The Games would be contested over five months and subsumed into the 1900 Exposition Universelle, a concurrent celebration of art, culture and technology. Alongside typical events like athletics, gymnastics and swimming, The II Olympiad explores unlikely events like auto racing, ballooning and croquet that characterized the Paris Games.

In the wake of the confusion of Paris, the focus of the book shifts to the war for control that would threaten the very survival of the Games. But while the fate of the Games was in doubt, an enterprising Swedish sportsman named Viktor Gustav Balck created an event that would have long-term implications for the Olympic movement. The book concludes with a detailed look at Balck’s Nordic Games, first staged in Stockholm in 1901, and draws a direct line to the ultimate creation of the Winter Olympics, first celebrated in Chamonix, France in 1924.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, former President of the International Olympic Committee, called The Olympic Century, “The most comprehensive history of the Olympic games ever published”.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Warwick Press Inc.
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Published on
Nov 18, 2015
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Pages
527
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ISBN
9781987944020
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Language
English
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Genres
Sports & Recreation / Olympics & Paralympics
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The III Olympiad, the fourth volume in The Olympic Century series, begins with the first Olympic Games held outside Europe – the St. Louis Games of 1904.

The St. Louis Games are set against the backdrop of a much larger concurrent event, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, also known as the St. Louis World’s Fair, which featured displays and demonstrations of art, culture and technology from around the world. Despite this distraction, the St. Louis Games still produced its share of memorable Olympic champions. There is the story of the gymnast George Eyser, who won six medals in one day in spite of his wooden leg; the sprinter Archie Hahn, who won three golds and set a record in the 200 metres that would stand for 28 years; and two Tswana tribesmen, in St. Louis for the Exposition, who competed in the marathon and thus became the first black African Olympians.

The focus then turns to Athens 1906, also known as the Intercalated Games, which were held only once. The book tells the story of the American Ray Ewry, who added two golds in Athens to extend his Olympic total to eight from three Games; Billy Sherring of Canada, the unlikely winner of the marathon, who raised the money to travel to Greece at the horse races; and Peter O’Connor of Ireland, who won gold and silver competing reluctantly for Great Britain, then scaled the stadium flagpole to hoist the Irish flag.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, former President of the International Olympic Committee, called The Olympic Century, “The most comprehensive history of the Olympic games ever published”.

The IV Olympiad of the Modern Era was scheduled to take place in Rome in 1908, but the eruption of Mount Vesuvius two years prior to the Games threw Italy into economic chaos, forcing Rome to withdraw as host. The IV Olympiad, the fifth volume in The Olympic Century series, tells the story of how the city of London stepped up and sustained the modern Olympic movement in a time of crisis.

The book explores how, with typical British resilience, Londoners took on the challenge of planning the world’s greatest festival of sport, in spite of having less than half the normal time to prepare. Scheduled in conjunction with the Franco-British Exhibition, the Games of 1908 were the longest in Olympic history, running from April to October, and featured events like speed boat racing, dueling with pistols and figure skating. Heroes of the 1908 London Games included 60-year-old Oscar Swahn of Sweden who became, and remains, the oldest ever Olympic champion; John Taylor, the first black Olympic medalist; and Dorando Pietri of Italy, who fell five times from exhaustion on the last lap of the marathon but still managed to finish the race through sheer force of will.

The book concludes with the story of Elwood Brown, an American college basketball coach who journeyed to the Philippines to work as an organizer for the YMCA and became a pivotal figure in the growth of sport and the Olympic movement in Asia.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, former President of the International Olympic Committee, called The Olympic Century, “The most comprehensive history of the Olympic games ever published”.

Following the emotional success of the I Olympiad of the Modern Era in Athens in 1896, the Olympic movement struggled through more than a decade of disappointment and uncertainty. It would not be until 1912 in Stockholm that the Olympics rediscovered the magic of Athens, and struck on a model for the Games that endures to this day.

The V & VI Olympiads, the sixth volume in The Olympic Century series, begins with the Games that finally showed the world what the modern Olympics could be—Stockholm 1912. Flawlessly planned and organized with typical Swedish precision, the Stockholm Games allowed the athletes to take centre stage. The book tells the story of Olympic heroes like Jim Thorpe, a Native American who claimed gold in both the pentathlon and decathlon before going on to play professional baseball, basketball and football; George S. Patton, the famed WWII general, who competed in the modern pentathlon; and Arnold Strode-Jackson who won gold in the 1,500 metres competing as an individual entry in what was called at the time “the greatest race ever run.”

Following Stockholm, the focus of the book shifts to the Olympics that never happened: the Games of the VI Olympiad – Berlin 1916. Planning for the Berlin Games began in 1912 and construction of the central venue, the 64,000-seat Deutsches Stadion, was completed in June 1913. But just over one year later, in July 1914, the start of World War I would postpone Berlin’s Olympic dream for another twenty years.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, former President of the International Olympic Committee, called The Olympic Century, “The most comprehensive history of the Olympic games ever published”.

The VIII Olympiad, the eighth volume in The Olympic Century series, begins in the most extraordinary of cities at a most extraordinary time: Paris in the 1920s. Now the stuff of legend, it was a place where the likes of Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce and Pablo Picasso discussed art and culture in the cafes by day and danced in the jazz clubs long into the night.

Played out in front of this dazzling backdrop, the Games of Paris 1924 created its own legends. Paavo Nurmi, the Flying Finn, cemented his status as the most dominant distance runner of the age, claiming five gold medals in individual and team competition. In the pool, a 20-year-old American named Johnny Weissmuller won three golds in swimming and a bronze in water polo, while also winning acclaim for his chiselled physique. Weissmuller would go on to parlay his Olympic fame into a long Hollywood acting career playing Tarzan the Ape Man.

The focus then shifts to 1928 and the second Winter Olympic Games, held in the luxurious French resort town of St. Moritz. The book paints a picture of exuberant crowds cheering as fearless sledders pilot primitive bobsleighs down the treacherous Cresta run, and urging the Swedish lumberjack Per Erik Hedlund through the slush for close to five hours to win the 50-kilometre cross-country ski race. It also tells the story of a smiling, 16-year-old figure skater from Norway named Sonja Henie, the unrivaled star of St. Moritz, who floated effortlessly between soft spots in the ice to win gold. Like Weissmuller four years earlier, Henie’s Olympic triumph would also lead to Hollywood stardom.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, former President of the International Olympic Committee, called The Olympic Century, “The most comprehensive history of the Olympic games ever published”.

The III Olympiad, the fourth volume in The Olympic Century series, begins with the first Olympic Games held outside Europe – the St. Louis Games of 1904.

The St. Louis Games are set against the backdrop of a much larger concurrent event, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, also known as the St. Louis World’s Fair, which featured displays and demonstrations of art, culture and technology from around the world. Despite this distraction, the St. Louis Games still produced its share of memorable Olympic champions. There is the story of the gymnast George Eyser, who won six medals in one day in spite of his wooden leg; the sprinter Archie Hahn, who won three golds and set a record in the 200 metres that would stand for 28 years; and two Tswana tribesmen, in St. Louis for the Exposition, who competed in the marathon and thus became the first black African Olympians.

The focus then turns to Athens 1906, also known as the Intercalated Games, which were held only once. The book tells the story of the American Ray Ewry, who added two golds in Athens to extend his Olympic total to eight from three Games; Billy Sherring of Canada, the unlikely winner of the marathon, who raised the money to travel to Greece at the horse races; and Peter O’Connor of Ireland, who won gold and silver competing reluctantly for Great Britain, then scaled the stadium flagpole to hoist the Irish flag.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, former President of the International Olympic Committee, called The Olympic Century, “The most comprehensive history of the Olympic games ever published”.

The IV Olympiad of the Modern Era was scheduled to take place in Rome in 1908, but the eruption of Mount Vesuvius two years prior to the Games threw Italy into economic chaos, forcing Rome to withdraw as host. The IV Olympiad, the fifth volume in The Olympic Century series, tells the story of how the city of London stepped up and sustained the modern Olympic movement in a time of crisis.

The book explores how, with typical British resilience, Londoners took on the challenge of planning the world’s greatest festival of sport, in spite of having less than half the normal time to prepare. Scheduled in conjunction with the Franco-British Exhibition, the Games of 1908 were the longest in Olympic history, running from April to October, and featured events like speed boat racing, dueling with pistols and figure skating. Heroes of the 1908 London Games included 60-year-old Oscar Swahn of Sweden who became, and remains, the oldest ever Olympic champion; John Taylor, the first black Olympic medalist; and Dorando Pietri of Italy, who fell five times from exhaustion on the last lap of the marathon but still managed to finish the race through sheer force of will.

The book concludes with the story of Elwood Brown, an American college basketball coach who journeyed to the Philippines to work as an organizer for the YMCA and became a pivotal figure in the growth of sport and the Olympic movement in Asia.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, former President of the International Olympic Committee, called The Olympic Century, “The most comprehensive history of the Olympic games ever published”.

Following the emotional success of the I Olympiad of the Modern Era in Athens in 1896, the Olympic movement struggled through more than a decade of disappointment and uncertainty. It would not be until 1912 in Stockholm that the Olympics rediscovered the magic of Athens, and struck on a model for the Games that endures to this day.

The V & VI Olympiads, the sixth volume in The Olympic Century series, begins with the Games that finally showed the world what the modern Olympics could be—Stockholm 1912. Flawlessly planned and organized with typical Swedish precision, the Stockholm Games allowed the athletes to take centre stage. The book tells the story of Olympic heroes like Jim Thorpe, a Native American who claimed gold in both the pentathlon and decathlon before going on to play professional baseball, basketball and football; George S. Patton, the famed WWII general, who competed in the modern pentathlon; and Arnold Strode-Jackson who won gold in the 1,500 metres competing as an individual entry in what was called at the time “the greatest race ever run.”

Following Stockholm, the focus of the book shifts to the Olympics that never happened: the Games of the VI Olympiad – Berlin 1916. Planning for the Berlin Games began in 1912 and construction of the central venue, the 64,000-seat Deutsches Stadion, was completed in June 1913. But just over one year later, in July 1914, the start of World War I would postpone Berlin’s Olympic dream for another twenty years.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, former President of the International Olympic Committee, called The Olympic Century, “The most comprehensive history of the Olympic games ever published”.

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