The Atlanta Games were an Olympics of firsts: they were the first Summer Games since 1920 that were not celebrated in the same year as the Winter Games, and 14 nations would win their first-ever Olympic medal in Atlanta. The book profiles heroes of the Games like sprinter Deon Hemming, who won the first ever gold medal for Jamaica, and the US women’s soccer team, which claimed gold in the first Olympic tournament for women in that sport. Other athletes profiled include Canadian sprinter Donovan Bailey, who won the dramatic 100-metre final in a world record time of 9.84 seconds, then went on to add another gold in the 4x100 relay. The book also recounts the tragic bombing of Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta during the Games that killed two people and injured 111 others.
Following Atlanta, the book explores the 1998 Winter Games of Nagano, Japan. It profiles stars like 15-year-old American figure skater Tara Lipinski, who became the youngest ever Winter Olympic champion in an individual event, and Norwegian cross-country skier Bjorn Daehlie, who won three golds to take his personal total to eight from three Games.
Juan Antonio Samaranch, former President of the International Olympic Committee, called The Olympic Century, “The most comprehensive history of the Olympic games ever published”.