We Have Your Ticket to London 2012!

From July 27 until August 12, a total of 10,500 athletes from 204 nations will compete in 26 different sports at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, being held in London, England.  Originating in ancient Greece, the Olympic Games were revived in the late 19th century and are considered the world's foremost sporting spectacle, showcasing the skills of both amateur and professional athletes.  Read all about the history, people, events, and records behind the Olympics with these books available at the Mercer County Library System:

Athens to Athens: The Official History of the Olympic Games and the IOC, 1894-2004
By David Miller

This the first full account of the history of the Olympic Games, its administration and the myriad triumphs, disappointments and scandals that have befallen the event since its inception in 1894.  Athens to Athens tells the story of the historic competitors—from Spyridon Louis (the inaugural Marathon winner) and such heroes as Jim Thorpe, Paavo Nurmim, Sonja Heine, Jessie Owens, Fanny Blankers-Koen, Emil Zatopek, Herb Elliot, Kip Keino, Mark Spitz, Franz Klammer, Sebastian Coe, Greg Louganis and Carl Lewis— to more recent medal winners including Steve Redgrave and Kathy Freeman. The twin evolutions of the IOC and the world's greatest sports festival unfold in alternate chapters, each of which begins with a personal reminiscence by either a famous champion or a notable IOC figure. Detailed background is provided to the many crises, incuding the Nazi Games of 1936; the massacre at Mexico City in 1968; the Israeli slaughter by terrorists in 1972; the boycotts; the new commercialism from 1984 onwards; the advent of professionals from 1988 up to the Ben Johnson scandal, and the ongoing threat of drug abuse. The credibility of the Games, and of the IOC, was rescued by the glory of Sydney 2000.  Athens to Athens is the definitive document of one of the world's most famous sporting festivals and features many rare photographs from every era of the event.

Inside the Olympics: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Politics, the Scandals, and the Glory of the Games
By Richard W. Pound

A candid look at how the Olympic rings got so tarnished, from a top IOC insider.  Bribery, illicit drugs, tainted judges, dirty politics . . . the Olympics have come a long way from ancient Greece. Far from the vaunted symbol of athletic excellence, the Olympic games have become awash in scandal (from doping and judging scandals, questionable selection practices for future sites) that have given it a tawdry luster only cynics and news junkies would relish. Now, Dick Pound, a former Olympic medalist and twenty-five year member of the IOC, gives an insider's account of the politics within the IOC as well as an unsensationalistic look at what went on behind the headlines. As controversial as the games themselves have become, Inside the Olympics is a fascinating, no-holds-barred look at just how the Olympics and their legacy have foundered.

The Olympics : Athens to Athens 1896-2004

In 1896 the first Modern Olympic Games were held in Athens and since that time have been on a journey around the world for more than a century.  In 2004,  the Games returned to the country of their birth and the city of their revival. To celebrate this momentous event, the Olympic Museum of Lausanne together with the French sports newspaper L'Equipe, in partnership with the International Olympic Committee, produced this exceptional illustrated book which chronicles the modern era of the Games, capturing the triumphs and tragedies of the world's greatest sporting event. Through 600 images, many previously unpublished, and articles from L'Equipe's unparalleled archives, the story of the modern games are told.

No Limits: The Will to Succeed
By Michael Phelps

“World record-holding swimmer Phelps has become a worldwide sports and pop culture phenomenon, thanks to his unparalleled eight gold medal wins in the 2008 Olympic Games. With help from award-winning sports journalist Abrahamson, Phelps chronicles his life, from Baltimore childhood to triumph in Beijing. The younger brother of two record-setting sisters, Phelps was practically brought up in the water—though he was initially thrown into the pool as therapy for his ADHD, which was diagnosed at an early age. Each of eight chapters takes its name from one of the eight races Phelps won in Beijing, and each is filled with anecdotes and intimate details leading up to his record-breaking successes. He sheds a bit of light on his relationship with his estranged father, and his disenchanting DUI charge just months after winning six gold medals at the 2004 Summer Games in Athens. Sparing no details in his account of the rigorous and often grueling training regiment he developed, as well as the career-threatening injuries he overcame just in time for competition, Phelps provides sports buffs with the details they'll crave and his global fan base the candor and charm they're hoping for.”—Publishers Weekly

Rome 1960: The Olympics that Changed the World
By David Maraniss 

This groundbreaking book weaves sports, politics, and history into a tour de force about the 1960 Rome Olympics, eighteen days of theater, suspense, victory, and defeat.  Critically acclaimed and bestselling author Maraniss draws compelling portraits of the athletes competing in Rome, including some of the most honored in Olympic history: decathlete Rafer Johnson, sprinter Wilma Rudolph, Ethiopian marathoner Abebe Bikila, and Louisville boxer Cassius Clay, who at 18 seized the world stage for the first time, four years before he became Muhammad Ali. Along with these unforgettable characters and dramatic contests, there was a deeper meaning to those late-summer days at the dawn of the sixties. Rome saw the first doping scandal, the first commercially televised Summer Games, the first athlete paid for wearing a certain brand of shoes. Old-boy notions of Olympic amateurism were crumbling and could never be taken seriously again. In the heat of the Cold War, the city teemed with spies and rumors of defections. Every move was judged for its propaganda value. East and West Germans competed as a unified team less than a year before the Berlin Wall. There was dispute over the two Chinas. An independence movement was sweeping sub-Saharan Africa, with 14 nations in the process of being born. There was increasing pressure to provide equal rights for blacks and women as they emerged from generations of discrimination. Using the meticulous research and sweeping narrative style that have become his trademark, Maraniss reveals the rich palate of character, competition, and meaning that gave Rome 1960 its singular essence.

Triumph : The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler's Olympics
By Jeremy Schaap

From the ESPN national correspondent and bestselling author comes a remarkable behind-the-scenes story of a defining moment in sports and world history. In 1936, against a backdrop of swastikas flying and a storm troopers goose-stepping, an African-American son of sharecroppers won a staggering four Olympic gold medals and single-handedly crushed Hitler's myth of Aryan supremacy. The story of Jesse Owens at the 1936 games is that of a high-profile athlete giving a performance that transcends sports. But it is also the intimate and complex tale of the courage of one remarkable man. Drawing on unprecedented access to the Owens family, previously unpublished interviews, and exhaustive archival research, Jeremy Schaap transports us to Nazi Germany to weave this dramatic tale. From the start, American participation in the 1936 games was controversial. A boycott was afoot, based on reports of Nazi hostility to Jews, but was thwarted by the president of the American Olympic Committee, who dismissed the actions of the Third Reich as irrelevant. At the games themselves the subplots and intrigue continued: Owens was befriended by a German rival, broad jumper Luz Long, who, legend has it, helped Owens win the gold medal at his own expense. Two Jewish sprinters were denied the chance to compete for the United States at the last possible moment, most likely out of misguided deference to the Nazi hosts. And a myth was born that Hitler had snubbed Owens by failing to congratulate him. With his trademark incisive reporting and rich storytelling gifts, Schaap reveals what really transpired over those tense, exhilarating few weeks more than 75 years ago.

By Dominique Moceanu 

At fourteen, Dominique Moceanu was the youngest member of the 1996 U.S. Women's Olympic Gymnastic team, the first and only American women's team to take gold at the Olympics. Her pixie-like appearance, passion for the sport, and ferocious competitive drive quickly earned her the status of media darling. But behind the fame, the flawless floor routines, and the million-dollar smile, her life was a series of challenges and hardships. From her stubborn father and long-suffering mother, to her notorious coach, Bela Karolyi, Off Balance reveals how each of the dominating characters contributed to her rise to the top. She shares the stories of competition, her years of hiding injuries and pain out of fear of retribution, and how she hit rock bottom after being publicly scorned by her father. But medals, murder plots, drugs, and daring escapes aside, the most unique aspect of her life is the family secret that Moceanu discovers, opening a new and unexpected chapter in her adult life.

Nazi Games: The  Olympics of 1936 
By David Clay Large 

Athletics and politics collide in a critical event for Nazi Germany and the contemporary world. The Olympic festival was a crucial part of the Nazi regime's mobilization of power. The torch relay, that staple of Olympic pageantry, first opened the summer games in 1936 in Berlin. Proposed by the Nazi Propaganda Ministry, the relay was to carry the symbolism of a new Germany across its route through southeastern and central Europe. Soon after, the Wehrmacht would march in jackboots over the same terrain. This book offers a blend of history and sport: it includes an account of the international effort to boycott the games, derailed by the American Olympic Committee. It also recounts the dazzling athletic feats of these Olympics, including Jesse Owens's four gold-medal performances, and the marathon victory of Korean runner Kitei Son, with the Rising Sun of Imperial Japan on his bib.

- Lisa S.


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