David Wallechinsky’s compendious book has long been the preeminent point of reference for sports enthusiasts and journalists alike
Every sports writer assigned to cover the Games ensures they have their early copy of this prodigious work of reference, packed with absorbing anecdotes and essential statistics. A treasure trove of 116 years of Olympic history, it is also an amazingly readable book, for in the course of recording every single Olympic final since 1896, it concentrates on the strange, the memorable, and the unbelievable. Who knew (until reading this book) that croquet was once an Olympic sport, or tug of war, or that a 72-year-old once won a silver medal for target shooting? This new edition also has every finals result, recorded by the top eight competitors in every event at the Beijing Olympics, and full descriptions of rules and scoring for every event included for 2012. It is the one truly essential Olympics book.
The authors also provide interesting background information on many of the competitors. The author tries to inject some humor into the book, making it enjoyable to read. There are interesting human interest stories about competitors you have never heard of. I discovered that the father of Hugh Laurie who plays Dr. Gregory House in “House M.D.” won an Olympic gold medal for the coxless pairs at the 1948 Games in London! At over 1300 pages it is the type of reference book you dip into occasionally. I love this book, it has kept me busy for many happy hours.