Igniting the Flame: America's First Olympic Team

Igniting the Flame: America's First Olympic Team

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by Jim Reisler
     
 

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The story of the fourteen men – largely forgotten and never the subject of a full-length book – who created the American Olympic movement by winning eleven gold medals at the first modern Olympics in 1896 in Athens, timed for publication leading up to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials and the 2012 Olympics in London.See more details below

Overview

The story of the fourteen men – largely forgotten and never the subject of a full-length book – who created the American Olympic movement by winning eleven gold medals at the first modern Olympics in 1896 in Athens, timed for publication leading up to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials and the 2012 Olympics in London.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[T]he little-known story of the 1896 Olympics, the first in 1,500 years…. Reisler weaves a handful of narrative threads…. writes well about the oddities…. [and] skillfully records the cries and struggles attending a nearly miraculous rebirth." –Kirkus Reviews"This fun and accessible read is recommended to all coming Olympics watchers interested in putting today's games in historical perspective. The photographs, appendix of award winners, and notes will add to the reader's experience." —Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
A writer of numerous baseball books (A Great Day in Cooperstown: The Improbable Birth of Baseball's Hall of Fame, 2006, etc.) shifts to another summer event, telling the little-known story of the 1896 Olympics, the first in 1,500 years. Imagine: An American Olympian shows up for the discus event, having never really tried it before; some accommodating Greek athletes demonstrate, and he wins. Such was the state of turn-of-the-century international athletic competitions. And so it was that a small American team (14 members) traveled to Athens, having no idea what sort of competition they would face. Not much: They came home with 11 firsts to a country now ecstatic about the Games (yawns had accompanied their departure). Reisler weaves a handful of narrative threads: the story of the resurrection of the Olympic Games, and of the men who accomplished it; the primitive means of travel and lodging; the stories of the individual American athletes and accounts of the events; and some whatever-happened-to-those-guys follow-up. An American won the first medal (James Connolly in the triple jump), a couple of wealthy pistoleers, almost on a lark, headed for Greece and took firsts, and another American attempted the marathon, which was won by the Greeks, to tumultuous patriotic thunder. The American pole-vaulters passed on all the lower levels; when they were ready, all the other competitors were eliminated. Reisler writes well about the oddities--the photograph of the sprinters lined up in a potpourri of poses is a howl--but he sets us up for an exciting 100-meter race, cuts away, then disappoints later with his perfunctory account. Though the author sometimes writes like the team's PR agent, he skillfully records the cries and struggles attending a nearly miraculous rebirth.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780762778485
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
06/05/2012
Pages:
296
Product dimensions:
6.26(w) x 9.06(h) x 1.00(d)

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