XIV Olympiad

The Olympic Century

Book 12
Warwick Press Inc.
Free sample

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”.

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Publisher
Warwick Press Inc.
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Published on
Nov 18, 2015
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Pages
550
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ISBN
9781987944112
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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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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 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, were unique in several respects: they were the first Games held outside Europe or North America, as well as the first held in the southern hemisphere. The XVI Olympiad, the fourteenth volume in The Olympic Century series, begins with the story of Melbourne 1956, known as “The Friendly Games”.

The book profiles the heroes of Melbourne, like the 18-year-old Australian sprinter Betty Cuthbert, the “Golden Girl,” who claimed gold in the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay; and the American Bobby Morrow who mirrored Cuthbert’s achievements on the men’s side. There were also unlikely winners, like Ronnie Delany of Ireland, who held off the powerful Americans to claim gold in the 1500 metres. The book also explores how Cold War tensions surfaced in Melbourne in disputes over officiating, and most violently in water polo, where Hungary and Russia engaged in what became known as the “Blood in the Water Match.”

Following Melbourne, the book turns its focus to Squaw Valley, California, and the Winter Games of 1960. Squaw Valley saw the Olympic debut of the biathlon and women’s speed skating, along with technological innovations like artificial ice surfaces, instant replay and results tabulated by computer. The book also recounts the story of the plucky American ice hockey team, made up of college players, which defeated the experienced Canadians and dominant Russians to claim 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”.

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”.

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 III Olympiad, the fourth volume in The Olympic Century series, begins with the first Olympic Games held outside Europe – the St. Louis Games of 1904.

The St. Louis Games are set against the backdrop of a much larger concurrent event, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, also known as the St. Louis World’s Fair, which featured displays and demonstrations of art, culture and technology from around the world. Despite this distraction, the St. Louis Games still produced its share of memorable Olympic champions. There is the story of the gymnast George Eyser, who won six medals in one day in spite of his wooden leg; the sprinter Archie Hahn, who won three golds and set a record in the 200 metres that would stand for 28 years; and two Tswana tribesmen, in St. Louis for the Exposition, who competed in the marathon and thus became the first black African Olympians.

The focus then turns to Athens 1906, also known as the Intercalated Games, which were held only once. The book tells the story of the American Ray Ewry, who added two golds in Athens to extend his Olympic total to eight from three Games; Billy Sherring of Canada, the unlikely winner of the marathon, who raised the money to travel to Greece at the horse races; and Peter O’Connor of Ireland, who won gold and silver competing reluctantly for Great Britain, then scaled the stadium flagpole to hoist the Irish flag.

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 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”.

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”.

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 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, were unique in several respects: they were the first Games held outside Europe or North America, as well as the first held in the southern hemisphere. The XVI Olympiad, the fourteenth volume in The Olympic Century series, begins with the story of Melbourne 1956, known as “The Friendly Games”.

The book profiles the heroes of Melbourne, like the 18-year-old Australian sprinter Betty Cuthbert, the “Golden Girl,” who claimed gold in the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay; and the American Bobby Morrow who mirrored Cuthbert’s achievements on the men’s side. There were also unlikely winners, like Ronnie Delany of Ireland, who held off the powerful Americans to claim gold in the 1500 metres. The book also explores how Cold War tensions surfaced in Melbourne in disputes over officiating, and most violently in water polo, where Hungary and Russia engaged in what became known as the “Blood in the Water Match.”

Following Melbourne, the book turns its focus to Squaw Valley, California, and the Winter Games of 1960. Squaw Valley saw the Olympic debut of the biathlon and women’s speed skating, along with technological innovations like artificial ice surfaces, instant replay and results tabulated by computer. The book also recounts the story of the plucky American ice hockey team, made up of college players, which defeated the experienced Canadians and dominant Russians to claim 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”.

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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