V & VI Olympiad

The Olympic Century

Book 6
Warwick Press Inc.
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Following the emotional success of the I Olympiad of the Modern Era in Athens in 1896, the Olympic movement struggled through more than a decade of disappointment and uncertainty. It would not be until 1912 in Stockholm that the Olympics rediscovered the magic of Athens, and struck on a model for the Games that endures to this day.

The V & VI Olympiads, the sixth volume in The Olympic Century series, begins with the Games that finally showed the world what the modern Olympics could be—Stockholm 1912. Flawlessly planned and organized with typical Swedish precision, the Stockholm Games allowed the athletes to take centre stage. The book tells the story of Olympic heroes like Jim Thorpe, a Native American who claimed gold in both the pentathlon and decathlon before going on to play professional baseball, basketball and football; George S. Patton, the famed WWII general, who competed in the modern pentathlon; and Arnold Strode-Jackson who won gold in the 1,500 metres competing as an individual entry in what was called at the time “the greatest race ever run.”

Following Stockholm, the focus of the book shifts to the Olympics that never happened: the Games of the VI Olympiad – Berlin 1916. Planning for the Berlin Games began in 1912 and construction of the central venue, the 64,000-seat Deutsches Stadion, was completed in June 1913. But just over one year later, in July 1914, the start of World War I would postpone Berlin’s Olympic dream for another twenty years.

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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Warwick Press Inc.
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Nov 18, 2015
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Sports & Recreation / Olympics & Paralympics
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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”.

XXI Olympiad, the nineteenth volume in The Olympic Century series, begins with the story of the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal Canada. In the wake of the terrorist tragedy that marred the Munich Olympics four years earlier, Montreal is remembered for the athletic performances of the athletes.

Despite a boycott staged by several African nations to protest the policy of apartheid in South Africa, the Montreal Games produced a bevy of international stars. The book profiles memorable athletes like 14-year-old Nadia Comaneci of Romania, who posted an unprecedented seven perfect-10 scores in winning gymnastic gold; and Japanese gymnast Shun Fujimoto, who performed his final event with a broken knee to help the Japanese team win team gold. Other notable participants in Montreal included decathlon winner Bruce Jenner; Princess Anne of Great Britain, who competed in equestrian events; and racewalker Alex Oakley of Canada, who became the oldest-ever Olympic track competitor at age 50.

The second part of the book focuses on the Winter Olympics of 1980, held in Lake Placid, N.Y. It tells the story of the “Miracle on Ice”, the gold medal victory of the amateur US hockey team over the mighty Soviets, ending a run of hockey golds for the USSR extending back to 1960. Other athletes profiled include American speed skater Eric Heiden, who remains the only athlete to win five gold medals at one Winter Olympics, and skier Hanni Wenzel, who claimed the only two gold medals ever for tiny Liechtenstein.

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”.

The Summer Olympics of Munich 1972 were called “The Cheerful Games”, but that was before the spectre of terrorism marked them forever in the history of sport. XX Olympiad, the eighteenth volume in The Olympic Century series, recalls the tragic events in Munich, along with the many moments of triumph. The book recounts the 18-hour standoff between police and eight Palestinian terrorists who took 11 Israeli athletes and coaches hostage in the Olympic Village. All the hostages and three terrorists would die during the ordeal. The Games resumed after 24 hours, and the heroes of Munich emerged: American swimmer Mark Spitz, who would claim a then-record seven gold medals; Soviet gymnast Olga Korbut, who charmed the world in winning three golds; and a 15-year-old Australian named Shane Gould, who challenged Spitz in the pool with three gold-medal performances. The book also recounts the curious story of marathon winner Frank Shorter entering the stadium running behind an imposter who had joined the race in the final stages. The book then turns its focus to the 1976 Winter Games of Innsbruck, Austria. The book profiles athletes like Austrian favourite Franz Klammer, who won the downhill with a heart-stopping final run; US figure skater Dorothy Hamill, who won gold and sparked a worldwide trend in hairstyles; and West German skier Rosi Mittermaier, who missed out on winning three golds by just 0.13 seconds. 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”.

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