X Olympiad

The Olympic Century

Book 10
Warwick Press Inc.
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The X Olympiad, the tenth volume in The Olympic Century series, begins with the Games of Los Angeles, 1932. With the entire world locked in the depths of the Great Depression, the book describes the thrills of the world’s greatest festival of sport played out against the backdrop of Hollywood’s Golden Era.

With famous movie stars watching from the stands of the legendary Memorial Coliseum, the 1932 Olympics created its own cast of legends. The book tells the story of Babe Didrikson, perhaps the greatest female athlete of the 20th Century, who won two golds and one silver in track and field in Los Angeles before going on to even greater fame as a pro golfer; Kusuo Kitamma of Japan, not yet 15, who became, and remains, the youngest ever Olympic swimming champion; and the American swimmer Buster Crabbe, who won gold in the pool and later went on to Hollywood stardom in the Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon serials of the 1930s and 40s.

Following Los Angeles, the focus of the book shifts to 1936 and the Winter Olympics in Garmish-Partenkirchen, Germany, the first to feature Alpine, as well as Nordic, skiing events. Against the backdrop of Hitler’s rising Third Reich, the book follows the exploits of athletes like Sweden’s Sonja Henie as she claims her third consecutive figure skating gold; and the unlikely British ice hockey team, which upset the dominant Canadians in their quest for a fifth-straight Olympic gold.

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
442
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ISBN
9781987944099
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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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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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When the modern Olympic movement was launched in Paris in 1894, the goal was to create a global festival of sport that would unite athletes and nations in the spirit of sportsmanship and goodwill. The Olympic movement went on to achieve that lofty goal, but its founders could never have imagined that the Games could be used in equal measure to further mankind’s darkest ambitions.

The XI, XII, & XIII Olympiads, the eleventh volume in The Olympic Century series, begins with the story of perhaps the most controversial Games ever held – Berlin 1936. The volume documents how the Nazi dictator Adolph Hitler tried to use the Olympics as a global stage to demonstrate the might of his fearsome Third Reich and to promote his hateful theories on racial superiority. But flying in the face of Hitler’s propaganda machine, there was the singular triumph of the black American Jesse Owens, the grandson of slaves, who made a mockery of the very idea of a “master race” by dominating the Games with four gold medals.

Following Berlin, the focus of the book shifts to the years just before and during World War II, when summer and winter Olympiads in 1940 and 1944 were sacrificed as the world plunged into darkness. After the war, the question remained whether enough goodwill existed among nations to sustain the modern Olympic movement. But the book ends on a hopeful note in 1948 at the Winter Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland, where a 20-year-old figure skater from Canada named Barbara Anne Scott charmed the crowds with her beauty, grace and precision and reminded the world of what the Olympics can be.

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

In the terrible years leading up to and encompassing World War II, the Olympic movement endured a forced hiatus that lasted 12 long years. The London Games of 1948 marked the end of that dark period, and signaled the beginning of a whole new Olympic era.

The XIV Olympiad, the twelfth volume in The Olympic Century series, begins with what were known as the Austerity Games due to post-war rationing. In spite of the banishment of Germany and Japan and the absence of the USSR, the 1948 Games played host to a then-record 59 nations, and were the first Games broadcast on television. The book shines a light on Olympic heroes like Fanny Blankers-Koen of the Netherlands; dubbed “The Flying Housewife”, the 30-year-old mother of two won an incredible four golds in track in London. On the men’s side, the star was Veikko Huhtanen, leader of the dominant Finnish gymnastics team, who claimed three golds, one silver, and one bronze.

In the second part of the book, the focus shifts to Oslo, Norway and the 1952 Winter Olympics, where the star attraction was a local truck driver named Hjalmar Andersen who took three of four gold medals in speed-skating. The West Germans also returned to the Olympic fold, winning both the two- and four-man bobsleigh events, and a diminutive American figure skater named Dick Button performed the first triple jump in international competition to take gold.

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

XV Olympiad, the thirteenth volume in The Olympic Century series, tells the story of 1952 Summer Olympic Games of Helsinki, Finland. The Helsinki Games were the first for the Peoples’ Republic of China, Israel and the USSR, and set a record for most world records broken at a single Olympics that would stand until 2008.

The book profiles heroes of Helsinki like Bob Mathias of the U.S., who defended his decathlon title from the 1948 London Games; the distance runner Emil Zatopek of Czechoslovakia, who claimed three golds including the marathon; and Josy Barthel, who became the first and only gold medal winner from Luxembourg with his triumph in the 1500 metres. In team sports, the legendary “Magic Magyars” of Hungary claimed gold in soccer.

The second part of the book focuses on the Winter Olympics of 1956, held in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, which boasted the most events ever held at a Winter Games. With televisions now common in homes in most advanced countries, Cortina d’Ampezzo was also the first Olympics viewed by a wide global audience, boosting the popularity of the Games to a new level. Heroes of Cortina like the Austrian skier Toni Sailer, who swept all three alpine events, became household names, and the world got its first glimpse of the mighty Soviet hockey team, which went on to win five of the next six Olympic gold medals.

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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