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FLC Staff Picks Blog

Sylvia's Picks: The Olympic Games!

by Sylvia Jones on 2021-07-27T16:03:00-04:00 | Comments

Historians aren't precisely sure when the Ancient Olympic games began; only that it was sometime before 776 BC and until 724 the only competition was a single footrace. As time went on, Spartans began to compete with the Greeks and more events were added, such as more footraces, chariot racing, and a pentathlon. Eventually the games were banned for having "pagan connections" in AD 394 and weren't revived until more than 1500 years later.

The modern Olympics began in 1896 with 13 counties, 9 sports, and 43 events, hosted by Athens, Greece. Four years later the first women competed, and in 1924 the Winter Olympics began. Slowly, traditions began to form and create the Games we know and love today. While these events have been the impetus for elevating athletes into star status and pushing the boundaries of the human body, they have also become a world stage for politics, protest, scandal, and tragedy.

Below you’ll find a selection of our display, including ancient and modern histories of the Olympic games, biographies of a few famed American athletes, and related topics.

note: Follow the title links to get a full description or to "place a hold". We'll pull it for you!

History of the Games

Cover ArtThe Games by David Goldblatt
GV 721.5 .G65 G36 2016 
Cover ArtThe Ancient Olympics by Nigel Spivey
796.48 S761a, 2005
Cover ArtThe Naked Olympics by Tony Perrottet
796.48 P461n, 2004 
Cover ArtTheir Day in the Sun by Doris Hinson Pieroth
796.48 P615t, 1996

The 1932 Olympic games took place in Los Angeles in the depths of the Great Depression; that they were held at all falls barely short of miraculous. The United States sent thirty-seven women to compete--seventeen swimmers, seventeen track and field athletes, and three fencers. It was not easy, and far from acceptable, for a woman to be an athlete in 1932. Pieroth's account is drawn from interviews with eleven of the women athletes, family members, other Olympians of the era, and witnesses of the 1932 games. 

Cover ArtSix Minutes in Berlin by Michael J. Socolow
GV 722 1936 .S63 S59 2016 

 The Berlin Games matched cutting-edge communication technology with compelling sports narrative to draw the blueprint for all future sports broadcasting. A global audience--the largest cohort of humanity ever assembled--enjoyed the spectacle via radio. This still-novel medium offered a "liveness," a thrilling immediacy no other technology had ever matched. As Michael J Socolow shows, the origins of global sports broadcasting can be found in this single, forgotten contest. 

Cover Art

Cold War Games by Toby C. Rider
GV 721.5 .R53 C65 2016

It is the early Cold War. The Soviet Union appears to be in irresistible ascendance and moves to exploit the Olympic Games as a vehicle for promoting international communism. In response, the United States conceives a subtle, far-reaching psychological warfare campaign to blunt the Soviet advance. Drawing on newly declassified materials and archives, Toby C. Rider chronicles how the U.S. government used the Olympics to promote democracy and its own policy aims during the tense early phase of the Cold War. 

Cover Art

GV 706.32 .H46 S53 2013

Cover ArtWonder Girl by Don Van Natta

GV 697 .Z34 V36 2013 

Cover ArtThe Greatest by Muhammad Ali; Richard Durham

GV 1132 .A45 A35 2015 

Cover ArtJust Don't Fall by Josh Sundquist

RC 281 .C4 S86 2010

Cover ArtNative American Son by Kate Buford

927.96 T519Bu, 2012

Cover ArtMiracle 

Call Number: DVD 791.4372 M671, 2004

Cover Art

Call Number: DVD 791.4372 P923, 2002?

Cover Art

Call Number: DVD 791.4372 C473, 2005
Call Number: DVD 796.48 O53, 2006
After being commissioned by the 1936 Olympic Committee to create a feature film of the Berlin Olympics, Riefenstahl shot a documentary that celebrates the human body by combining the poetry of bodies in motion with close-ups of athletes in the heat of competition. The production tends to glorify the young male body and, some say, expresses the Nazi attitude toward athletic prowess.

Cover Art

Call Number: DVD 943.9052 F853, 2007

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