The book gives a detailed account of the most infamous episode from Seoul, which saw Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson achieve a dramatic win in the men’s 100 metres only to have his gold medal stripped away for failing a post-race drug test. The book also profiles heroes of Seoul like Christa Luding-Rothenburger of East Germany, who became the only athlete to ever win gold in both Winter (speed skating in Calgary) and Summer (cycling) Games in the same year; and swimmer Anthony Nesty, who won Suriname’s only Olympic medal and became the first male black swimmer to win individual gold.
The second part of the book focuses on the 1992 Winter Olympics of Albertville, France. Albertville was the last Winter Games to be held in the same year as the Summer Games, and mogul skiing, short-track speed skating and women’s biathlon made their Olympic debuts. The book profiles stars of Albertville like 16-year-old Finnish ski jumper Toni Nieminen, who became the youngest ever male gold medalist at the Winter Games; and Annelise Coberger of New Zealand, who won silver in the women’s slalom to become the first Winter Olympic medalist from the southern hemisphere.
Juan Antonio Samaranch, former President of the International Olympic Committee, called The Olympic Century, “The most comprehensive history of the Olympic games ever published”.