VIII Olympiad

The Olympic Century

Book 8
Warwick Press Inc.
Free sample

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”.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Warwick Press Inc.
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Published on
Nov 18, 2015
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Pages
522
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ISBN
9781987944075
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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 IX Olympiad, the ninth volume in The Olympic Century series, begins by exploring the Summer Games of Amsterdam, 1928, the first to feature the Olympic flame as well as the first to include track and field and gymnastics competitions for women.

Well established as the world’s greatest festival of sport, the Olympic Games rose to new heights in Amsterdam. The book tells the story of Olympic heroes like Paavo Nurmi, the legendary Finnish distance runner, who claimed one more gold medal in 1928 to take his personal total to nine from three Olympics; and the Canadian sprinter Percy Williams, who claimed the title of world’s fastest man with golds in both the 100- and 200-metres. Amsterdam also saw the triumph of triple-jumper Mikio Oda of Japan, who became the first gold medalist from Asia; and American double-gold swimmer Johnny Weismuller, who would go on to star in Hollywood as Tarzan the Ape Man.

Following the Amsterdam Games, the focus turns to Lake Placid, N.Y., and the Winter Games of 1932. The book tells the story of athletes like American speed-skater Irving Jaffee, who lunged for gold in a thrilling photo finish in the 10,000-metres; Sonja Henie of Sweden, who would claim her second of three consecutive figure skating titles; and American Eddie Eagan, who would add a team gold in four-man bobsleigh to his gold in boxing won in the Antwerp Olympics 12 years earlier.

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 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”.

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”.

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”.

"This is a cleverly written and timely book. New Society Publishers have managed to put a well-designed paperback on the market just in time to wage a war of words, on the tail end of a province-wide gag law. Indeed, the cloak of silence surrounding all things Olympic have taken us to new levels, as even the digits 2010, preceded by the name of our fair city, are considered fair game, and grounds for libel. A historical perspective on the original intent and players in the Games from the days of their creation answers trivia quesitons like" who was the first athlete to win the gold?", while adding a nostalgic touch, and the chapter on dissent and resistance of the Olympics in other cities brings the whole book into international focus." - Christina Ferrero, Epoch Times

 

The shiny rings of the Olympic Games have grown tarnished over the years as doping, corruption, and other scandals rise to the surface. Those scandals are the tip of the iceberg, according to author Christopher A. Shaw, the lead spokesperson for several anti-Games groups.

Five Ring Circus details the history of how Vancouver won the bid for the 2010 Games, who was involved, and what the real motives were. It describes the role of corporate media in promoting the Games, the machinations of government and business, and the opposition that emerged.

Disturbing questions come to light:

Why does the International Olympic Committee pay no taxes? Who are the real estate developers behind the Vancouver bid? Why are mega projects paid for with tax dollars? What are the true costs of the Games?

The Olympic Games, once considered the pinnacle of athleticism and fair play, have become a cesspool of greed, backroom deals, and the wholesale trampling of civil liberties. In Vancouver, preparations for the 2010 Games have had a substantial negative impact on the environment and have resulted in the “economic cleansing” of the poor and homeless.

This book is a cautionary tale for future Olympic bid cities, and will appeal to those concerned about the effects of globalization on many aspects of life.

Christopher A. Shaw is a professor at the University of British Columbia. He is a founding member and lead spokesperson for the No Games 2010 Coalition and 2010 Watch. He lives in North Vancouver.

The IX Olympiad, the ninth volume in The Olympic Century series, begins by exploring the Summer Games of Amsterdam, 1928, the first to feature the Olympic flame as well as the first to include track and field and gymnastics competitions for women.

Well established as the world’s greatest festival of sport, the Olympic Games rose to new heights in Amsterdam. The book tells the story of Olympic heroes like Paavo Nurmi, the legendary Finnish distance runner, who claimed one more gold medal in 1928 to take his personal total to nine from three Olympics; and the Canadian sprinter Percy Williams, who claimed the title of world’s fastest man with golds in both the 100- and 200-metres. Amsterdam also saw the triumph of triple-jumper Mikio Oda of Japan, who became the first gold medalist from Asia; and American double-gold swimmer Johnny Weismuller, who would go on to star in Hollywood as Tarzan the Ape Man.

Following the Amsterdam Games, the focus turns to Lake Placid, N.Y., and the Winter Games of 1932. The book tells the story of athletes like American speed-skater Irving Jaffee, who lunged for gold in a thrilling photo finish in the 10,000-metres; Sonja Henie of Sweden, who would claim her second of three consecutive figure skating titles; and American Eddie Eagan, who would add a team gold in four-man bobsleigh to his gold in boxing won in the Antwerp Olympics 12 years earlier.

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

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
Acclaimed sports journalist Jack McCallum delivers the untold story of the greatest team ever assembled: the 1992 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team. As a writer for Sports Illustrated, McCallum enjoyed a courtside seat for the most exciting basketball spectacle on earth, covering the Dream Team from its inception to the gold medal ceremony in Barcelona. Drawing on fresh interviews with the players, McCallum provides the definitive account of the Dream Team phenomenon. He offers a behind-the-scenes look at the controversial selection process. He takes us inside the team’s Olympic suites for late-night card games and bull sessions where superstars like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird debated the finer points of basketball. And he narrates a riveting account of the legendary intrasquad scrimmage that pitted the Dream Teamers against one another in what may have been the greatest pickup game in history. In the twenty years since the Dream Team first captivated the world, its mystique has only grown. Dream Team vividly re-creates the moment when a once-in-a-millennium group of athletes came together and changed the future of sports—one perfectly executed fast break at a time.
 
With a new Afterword by the author.
 
“The absolute definitive work on the subject, a perfectly wonderful once-you-pick-it-up-you-won’t-be-able-to-put-it-down book.”—The Boston Globe
 
“An Olympic hoops dream.”—Newsday
 
“What makes this volume a must-read for nostalgic hoopsters are the robust portraits of the outsize personalities of the participants, all of whom were remarkably open with McCallum, both then and now.”—Booklist (starred review)
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