Olympic Reading February 18, 2010
You may have noticed–the Winter Olympics are going on. Is that affecting your reading time? Have you read any Olympics-themed books? What do you think about the Olympics in general? Here’s your chance to discuss!
(And for the record? My favorite Olympics book is Joy Goodwin’s The Second Mark which tells the story of the three figure skating pairs involved in the 2002 Salt Lake City controversy. The controversy is actually the smallest part of the story–the fascinating part is learning about the training of the three teams–Canadian, Russian, and Chinese. Just saying. And yes, I AM watching the Olympics on tv each night.)
I totally watched the Olympics on TV. I love them. And the Winter Olympics are my thing, because they have the skating, which I love. In high school, I actually went to the Figure Skating tour -- twice. I got to see all of the 1994 Olympic medal winners in person (except for the guy who won the men's gold, but he sucked anyway). Nancy Kerrigan, Oksana Baiul, Gordeeva and Grinkov, Viktor Petrenko -- I saw them all.
I kind of got out of it after that. In college, I didn't have access to a TV, so I couldn't watch the world championships and keep up. In 1998, I was in England, and they just didn't seem to show very much, plus they had an even more extreme time zone issue than America did (I think I saw 5 minutes of curling one night after I came home from the bars). But this last Olympics has gotten me back into it. There were so many outstanding performances, and I'm still extremely pissed about NBC's piss-poor coverage of the championship gala.
Anyway...books about the Olympics. I've read a couple. I want to read more, and was excited to hear about the figure skating book referenced in this question. I read a very comprehensive one, titled The Olympics: A History of the Modern Games by Allen Guttman. I also read a more specific one, Nazi Games. I selected these basically by figuring out where the library kept their sports books and wandering over there to see what they had.
The Olympics are definitely not without their flaws. Dave zirin, at Edge of Sports on the sidebar, hates them. But I can't help but love them. They've spawned such a fascinating history, too, such an interesting way to look at world events that they're terrific to read about as well as watch.