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Top 5 Olympic Books

Top 5 Olympic Books

Table of Contents


  1. Not the Triumph but the Struggle
  2. Fire on the Track
  3. The Boys of Winter
  4. The Three-Year Swim Club
  5. The Boys in the Boat

1. Not the Triumph but the Struggle

Warning: (Possible Spoilers Ahead)

Not the Triumph but the Struggle: the 1968 Olympics and the Making of the Black Athlete by Amy Bass dives into the history of black athletes with the focal point at the 1968 Olympic Games. Tommie Smith and John Carlos, two American black athletes, raised their black-gloved fists on the Olympic podium to bring light to current racial politics happening in America. Bass shows the complex ties between sport and race through organizations like the Olympic Project for Human Rights and deeply analyzes perceptions of black physical abilities. This is an eye-opening and emotional read that highlights the struggles faced by these elite black athletes and racial injustices still present in our country today.

2. Fire on the Track

Warning: (Possible Spoilers Ahead)

This inspiring book details the story of Betty Robinson, an Olympic track star in the 1928 Olympic Games. This historic gold medal win for Robinson was not too long after the passing of the 19th amendment and she was at the peak of her career. After a nearly fatal plane crash that left Betty learning how to walk again, she was eager to come back and continue her role as the first female Olympic champion in her sport. Read her incredible story and Betty's journey back to the 1936 Olympic Games as she paved the way for other female athletes!

3. The Boys of Winter

Warning: (Possible Spoilers Ahead)

This famous story about the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey team that took home the gold medal against the dominant Soviet Union is one of the greatest sports stories in the 20th century. This hard-working American team, composed of mostly college aged players, shocked the world with their gold medal win in Lake Placid, NY. Coffey provides ample detail about not only the game itself, but the making of that incredible Olympic run and where the Boys of Winter are today. If you loved the movie Miracle, this book is for you. Read about this historic and inspiring Olympic story!

4. The Three-Year Swim Club

Warning: (Possible Spoilers Ahead)

This moving story details the untold journeys of poverty-stricken children from Maui that prevailed to become Olympic swimmers. Soichi Sakamoto, a school teacher from Maui, trained a group of impoverished plantation children to become world-class swimmers. They trained in dirty irrigation ditches on their island. Despite their circumstances, these Maui children shocked the world and became international stars in the late 1930s and 1940s. These swimmers faced constant obstacles on their journey to Olympic success, but continued to push through fearlessly. The perseverance of these swimmers will inspire readers to not let anything stand in the way of their dreams!

5. The Boys in the Boat

Warning: (Possible Spoilers Ahead)

This popular book tells of the U.S. rowing team's quest for gold at Hitler's 1936 Berlin Olympics. This American team was full of blue-collared rowers from the West that were overlooked by international opponents. Readers tend to love the story of teenage rower Joe Rantz, that encompasses the role of a team player despite his unfortunate circumstances. This book highlights the necessity of trust, commitment and optimism on a successful team. This is an incredible story of nine American boys that shocked the world by pure dedication to each other and their desire for a gold medal!



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