Each book features brief summaries of the accomplishments of the highly trained athletes who excelled in their chosen sport at one or more Olympic Games. Gitlin also attends to some of the record setting achievements of Olympic greats and how their performances shaped the games themselves. This volume focuses on track and field, among the most popular of all Summer Olympic events. This discipline includes such disparate competitions as long distance running, sprinting, discus toss, javelin, hurdles, pole vaulting, long jump, and team relay races. Also included in the Olympic games are events such as the decathlon and heptathlon, which combine multiple track and field events into an all-purpose medal. Over the years, track and field at the Olympics has featured some amazing athletes. Usain Bolt from Jamaica won eight gold medals in his career and is the only runner to win three gold medals in the same three events in consecutive Games. From 1900-1908, Ray Ewry, an athlete and polio survivor from the United States, participated in ten long jump or high jump competitions at the Olympics and won them all. Carl Lewis, the great U.S. sprinter, won at least one gold medal at each of the four Olympics he competed in. Al Oerter, the powerful U.S. discus thrower, won the gold medal in his event at four consecutive Olympics. Jesse Owens overcame racism in his home country, as well as blatant racial hatred in host country Nazi Germany when he won four gold medals for the U.S. team at the 1936 Olympics. U.S. women athletes like Wilma Rudolph, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and Florence Griffith Joyner each achieved outstanding records while winning multiple medals. These amazing athletes are part of the reason why Olympic track and field remains a pillar of the Summer Games and why this concisely written book will engage readers interested in sports.
In each volume, Gitlin briefly highlights the achievements of some of the most noteworthy athletes in a given sport. Each book features brief summaries of the accomplishments of the highly trained athletes who excelled in their chosen sport at one or more Olympic Games. Gitlin also attends to some of the record setting achievements of Olympic greats and how their performances shaped the games themselves. This volume focuses on swimming and diving, and readers will learn about star athletes who set records and earned remarkable numbers of medals. For example, Mark Spitz participated in seven swimming events at the 1972 Summer Olympics and earned seven Gold Medals. Michael Phelps holds the all-time record for total Olympic Medals with twenty-eight, including twenty-three gold. In 1988, diver Greg Louganis struck the diving board with his head but still managed to win a gold medal, one of five Olympic medals he would receive in his career. Kristin Otto of East Germany entered six events in the 1988 Olympics, and won a gold medal in each of them; it was the only Olympic Games she ever participated in. Stories such as these will leave readers with a sense of wonder over just what people can accomplish when they determine to develop their talents.
Olympic combat sports encompass six events, including boxing, judo, fencing, Tae Kwon Do, Greco-Roman wrestling, and freestyle wrestling. Men and women compete in each these events except the Greco-Roman wrestling, which has no women's category. Over the years, some truly amazing athletic performances have occurred in Olympic combat sports. Hungarian fencer Aladar Gerevich won ten medals, including seven gold medals during his Olympic career; he could have won several more if not for World War II canceling the Games in 1940 and 1944. Soviet freestyle wrestler Alexandr Medved competed in three Olympics and won the gold medal in his weight class each time, despite having to wrestle opponents who often weighed much more than him. Teofilo Stevenson represented Cuba at three Olympic Games and won the gold medal as champion heavyweight boxer at each of them. No female fencer has ever won more medals than Italian Valentina Vezzali who amassed nine medals, including six gold. It is the stories of male and female athletes such as these who shone at the Olympic Games that are concisely told in this informative and engaging book.
Every four years, athletes from around the globe gather for a very special occasion. The Winter and Summer Olympic Games are the finest exhibition of a plethora of sports featuring the finest athletes imaginable. Originating in ancient Greece, the Olympics are grounded on the principles of excellence, fairness, and competition. Over the years, incidents at Olympic Games that have centered nationalism, favoritism, graft, and corruption have destabilized the purpose of the event. World wars have disrupted the flow of games and resulted in some cancellations. Violence, in the form of terrorism, marred the Munich Olympics and left a stain of grief upon the history of the games. However, in the vast majority of Olympic Games, it was the athletes and the skills and dedications they embody, that have left the most striking memories. It is the Olympics, and some of its shining stars, that the illustrated "Olympic Greats" series focuses on. In each volume of the series, author Martin Gitlin briefly highlights the achievements of some of the most noteworthy athletes in a given sport. Each book features very brief summaries of the accomplishments of the highly trained athletes who excelled in their chosen sport at one or more Olympic Games. Gitlin also attends to some of the record-setting achievements of Olympic greats and how their performances shaped the games themselves. In this selection, the chosen sport is gymnastics, one of the more popular events of the Summer Olympics. Readers will encounter star gymnasts such as Simone Biles, Nadia Comaneci, Victor Chukarin, and Sawao Kato. They will learn that Simone Biles has multiple moves named after her, Nadia Comaneci was the first gymnast to earn a perfect 10 and did so multiple times, and the Soviet Union has won more medals in this sport than any other nation. These, and many other fascinating facts about great Olympic gymnasts, are presented in this slim book. The end result is a book that will appeal to younger readers with an interest in sports and the great accomplishments of Olympians.