Author(s): Jeremy Fuchs
Motto of the modern Olympics: Faster, Higher, Stronger. But now add Stranger!
Stranger, as in the 1908 Olympic marathon, which featured Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a 22-year-old pastry chef, and Champagne (yes, it was the runners' drink of choice). Or the 1948 'austerity games' in London - teams had to bring their own food, female athletes sewed their own uniforms. Or imagine rooting for these one-time Olympic sports: tug of war, firefighting, rope climb, live pigeon shooting, and - wait for it - painting. (Picasso for the gold!)
Compulsively readable, highly entertaining, trivia- and curiosity-packed, Total Olympics is a glorious, photo-filled tapestry of legendary characters, forgotten records, crazy accomplishments, unbelievable feats, wacky contests, controversial moments, and more. As the author, Sports Illustrated's Jeremy Fuchs, writes, each Olympics is a mishmash of thousands of little stories during a glorious two-week adventure; multiply those thousand stories by 54 Olympic Games over 122 years, and voilà - a collection of sports yarns unlike any other. Like the story of the 'missing marathoner' whose official time was 54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes, and 20.3 seconds. Or the rower who had to make way for ducklings - literally - yet still managed to win the gold. Or the gymnast who brought his team to victory while fighting through the pain of a broken knee.
It's pure pleasure for the sports fan.