“Total Olympics” by Jeremy Fuchs contains all the Olympic facts, fun, and fiction that an aficionado could want. It shows the power of friendship and peace that prevailed in the 54 Olympic Games over 122 years when the global community came together to embody the motto of the modern Olympics: “Faster, Higher, Stronger.”
“Total Olympics” gives readers a look behind the scenes, to the events and the people that made headlines and some that did not. Surprise wins are documented along with teams that dropped out leading to unexpected results. Legends and dynasties in a sport are celebrated along with the upsets of newcomers over hardened regulars. Interesting historical footnotes are documented, for example the “missing marathoner” whose official time was 54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes, and 20.3 seconds. Advertising campaigns are listed including the “Thank you mom” ads from Proctor & Gamble and McDonald’s “Gold Medal Meal. Readers remember the athletes who rose from obscurity to become media “darlings.” It does not overlook the tragic or the controversial such as drug scandals and politically-motivated events.
“Total Olympics” not only tells the stories of the Olympics but it also lists every fact, every record, and every location of both the summer and winter Olympic Games. There are medal counts, the names of US flag bearers (and their sport) and even those who lit the torch. It is filled with trivia contest winning facts, and is just plain entertaining to read. It has wonderful pictures of Olympians from the past as well as details of long forgotten records, wacky contests, controversial moments, and crazy accomplishments. I am sure that the postponement of this year’s Olympics will add yet another chapter to the lore and mystery that is Olympiad.
P.S. This is the photo I took in 2019 when I visited the Athens stadium built for the first modern Olympiad in 1896.