cover image Chronicle of the Olympics

Chronicle of the Olympics

DK Publishing, Dorling Kindersley Publishing. DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley), $29.95 (312pp) ISBN 978-0-7894-0608-8

The 1996 Olympics in Atlanta will mark the centenary of the modern games, and this lavish volume, with more than 750 photos in color and b&w, is an impressive tribute. Here are the historical background to their founding by French nobleman Pierre de Coubertin and accounts of the summer and winter (the latter founded in 1925) events, from the moving victory of Greek athlete Spiridon Louis in the first marathon in Athens to the 16-day winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, in 1994. All the stars of past Olympiads are shown and their exploits detailed. Told by King Gustav in 1908 that he was the world's greatest athlete, Jim Thorpe, ever the democrat, replied, ""Thanks, King."" The 1924 games saw the first swimming victory of future cinematic Tarzan Johnny Weissmuller, an American; in the winter games the following year, Norwegian Sonja Henie, another future movie star, debuted in the ice rink. In 1936, African American runner-jumper Jesse Owens won four gold medals at the controversial Nazi-hosted games in Berlin; in 1972, American swimmer Mark Spitz took an unprecedented seven golds in the midst of a Palestinian terrorist attack in Munich. This book, too, deserves a gold. (May)