XVII Olympiad

The Olympic Century

Book 15
Warwick Press Inc.
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Rome had been selected to host the 1908 Olympic Games, but the impact of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1906 on the Italian economy forced the Eternal City to withdraw. Rome would finally get a second chance to host the world’s premier sporting festival in 1960, and XVII Olympiad, the fifteenth volume in The Olympic Century series, begins with the story of those Games.

The 1960 Olympics were the first summer Games to be broadcast in North America, sparking massive interest in both the host city and the athletes. The book profiles heroes of Rome like the American sprinter Wilma Rudolph, who overcame childhood polio to become a triple-gold medal winner, and the young boxer Cassius Clay, who would win Olympic gold before going on to untold fame as heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali. Rome also saw the emergence of the powerful Japanese men’s gymnastics team, which began an unprecedented streak of five team golds, and produced the indelible image of Ethiopian runner Abebe Bikila winning the marathon in bare feet.

Following Rome, the focus of the book shifts to Austria, and the 1964 Winter Games in the mountain town of Innsbruck. The sport of luge made its Olympic debut in 1964, and Russian speed skater Lidia Skobilkova cemented her place in Olympic history by winning all four women’s events. The book also profiles the Goitschen sisters of France, who finished first and second in both slalom and giant slalom.

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
555
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ISBN
9781987944143
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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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XVIII Olympiad, the sixteenth volume in The Olympic Century series, begins in Japan, at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the first Games ever held in Asia. The Tokyo Games were also the first ever broadcast globally by satellite.

The book tells the story of Tokyo heroes like Osamu Watanabe of Japan, who won gold in freestyle wrestling without surrendering a point, and Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina, who won two golds, one silver and two bronze to bring her Olympic medal total to 18. Other highlights of 1964 recounted in the book include the dominant US men’s swim team, which won seven of a possible 10 medals in the pool, and Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia, who matched his performance from Rome four years earlier to become the first person to repeat as Olympic marathon champion.

Later in the book the focus turns to the Winter Olympics and the 1968 Games in Grenoble, France. Broadcast for the first time in colour, the 1968 Games saw East and West Germany compete as separate nations for the first time. The book profiles stars of Grenoble like gold-medal winning figure skater Peggy Fleming, who sparked a surge in interest in skating; the dashing Frenchman Jean-Claude Killy, who took three gold medals in skiing; and an elfin skier from Canada named Nancy Greene who won gold and silver and became an instant icon in her country.

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 year 1968 is commonly remembered for the massive social and political upheaval occurring around the world at the time, but it was also the year of the Olympic Games of Mexico City. XIX Olympiad, the seventeenth volume in The American Century series, tells the story of one of the most exciting and controversial Olympics of the modern era.

In addition to being the first Olympics held in Latin America, the Mexico Games were also held at high altitude, a factor that likely contributed to the many record-breaking performances. Among these was Bob Beamon’s incredible gold-medal-winning 8.9-metre long jump, a record that would stand for 23 years, and Al Oerter’s fourth consecutive gold medal in discus, a first for a track athlete. In a reflection of the times, the book tells the story of American sprinters Tommie Smith (gold) and John Carlos (bronze) who created the iconic image of the Mexico Games when they famously raised their gloved fists in a black power salute on the medal podium.

The second part the book focuses on the 1972 Winter Games of Sapporo, Japan. Star athletes of Sapporo are profiled, like Galina Kulakova of the USSR, who won three golds in cross-country skiing, and Ard Schenk of Holland, who matched that feat in speed skating. It also tells the story of three Japanese ski-jumpers who became national heroes after sweeping the 70-metre event.

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”.

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