Book Reviews Reviews

Book review: Great Moments In The Summer Olympics

Written by Omair Alavi

Omair Alavi|Published April 3, 2021

With Summer Olympics 2020 all set to be held later this year, one must relive the experience of the past editions ahead of the mega event. The best way to do that would be through Matt Christopher’s Great Moments in the Summer Olympics.

Written specifically for kids, it not just transports you back in time, but makes you realise the struggle behind the Olympians’ achievements.

Just as the Summer Olympics are divided into countless disciplines, this book is categorised into 11 chapters, with 11 major sports getting one chapter each. From marathon to gymnastics, from short-distance races to long-distance ones, this book covers everything one should know about. There are details about decathlon, heptathlon, and swimming, which only ardent fans knew, and you can become one by reading about the Olympic history at your leisure.

The best part is that you can pick and choose the sports rather than going through the entire 104 pages. Each page has a new story for the readers, one that will not only motivate them to break barriers but also instil in them the power of self-belief. Some of the world’s best track and field athletes, gymnasts, and swimmers are discussed in this book, and rather than highlighting their wins, the writer tends to highlight the struggle that eventually led them to victory.

You might have heard of track geniuses Jesse Owens and Carl Lewis, but the story of those who came before them and followed them, is as interesting and captivating. There were gymnasts who performed the ‘Perfect 10’ despite being injured; there were athletes who made medal-winning comebacks despite being written off; and then there was Michael Phelps, the Olympian with the most medals in the history of the mega event.

Information like ‘Why one specific race is called a marathon’, ‘Why did the most successful swimmer leave midway in 1972’ and ‘Why were two sprinters reprimanded in 1968, despite winning the Gold and Bronze medals’ will also make you fall in love with this book, which also has a concise summary of Olympic hosts from 1896 to 2016. Not only that, you will get to know how many countries, athletes and events took place during these editions, followed by a list of Summer Olympic Events that have taken place with special mention of those events that have been part of every Olympic since 1896.

Don’t be surprised to find out that before the turn of the century, there was a country named USSR, or that there was an East and a West Germany before they unified in the 1990s. USSR became multiple countries who first participated as one country, even after their independence, and later appeared as different countries once they managed to stand on their feet. Add to that the action photographs of major Olympians and you have a treasure trove of information in your hands.

Relive those golden moments through this fact-filled book and tease your friends with your knowledge ahead of the ‘biggest sporting event on the planet’.

About the author

Omair Alavi