7 Fascinating Books about the Olympics

Celebrate the most famous sporting event in the world by checking out these seven books about the Olympic Games!

Just For Fun Lifestyle Non-Fiction Pop Culture Recommendations Wellness

The 2020 Olympic Games officially kicked off today in Tokyo, Japan with the Opening Ceremony. Over the next few weeks, a handful of the greatest athletes from across the world will compete in over thirty sports and forty disciplines for the chance of earning a gold medal.



The Olympics have a rich and fascinating history, dating back to ancient Greece. We’ve already compiled a list of some Olympian autobiographies to check out, so here are a few more recommendations if you’d like to learn more about the history of the Olympic Games and its athletes! Click on the books’ titles to purchase that work!




The Naked Olympics: The True Story of the Ancient Games – Tony Perrottet

If you ever wondered what the Olympic Games looked like in ancient Greece, this is the book for you! From the exciting contests of chariot racing and javelin throwing to the tents in the original Olympic Village, Perrottet richly details the atmosphere of the most famous sporting event in the world. He even covers some of the shocking scandals involving the original Olympic athletes. Not only does The Naked Olympics give readers insight into our modern-day Olympics, it’s also the perfect read for those fascinated with ancient Greece.




The Ancient Olympics – Nigel Spivey

Spivey dives deeper into the nature of the ancient Olympic Games than Perrottet. This historical work informs readers of the reality of the original Games: brutal, cruel, and bloodthirsty. To say the price of victory was extremely high and being a winner was a major accomplishment for the ancient Greeks underestimates both notions. Cheating and bribery were extremely common, and sometimes the games resorted to “fierce contests between bitter rivals.” Rather than as a beautiful and aesthetic event, Spivey argues these ancient Olympic games were “a clash of military powers in an arena not far removed from the battlefield.”




How to Watch the Olympics: The Essential Guide to the Rules, Statistics, Heroes, and Zeroes of Every Sport– David Goldblatt and Johnny Acton

If you love watching the vast array of Olympic sports, but wish you had a better understanding of their rules, then Goldblatt and Acton’s guide will be your go-to companion while watching the Games this summer! Within these pages, you’ll gain a solid understanding of each sport’s rules, strategies, and history. The guide even includes “clever illustrations” accompanied by “witty” descriptions to further enhance your knowledge of these sports.




The Games: A Global History of the Olympics – David Goldblatt

This recommendation is your ultimate guide to learning about the modern Olympic Games. Goldblatt covers Olympic history from the Games’ revival in 1896 to the 2016 Games in Rio. He discusses the Olympics’ cultural significance and how the Games developed into the phenomenon they are today. He also highlights the domestic and international conflicts that affected the Games over the years. Goldblatt also explains the popular traditions of the Olympics and includes several profiles of some of the greatest Olympic athletes ever to compete.




Total Olympics: Every Obscure, Hilarious, Dramatic, and Inspiring Tale Worth Knowing – Jeremy Fuchs

Fuchs’ coverage of the Olympics details the weirder, perhaps lesser-known aspects about the Games, as well as some of the most unbelievable moments in Olympic history. He discusses some events that are no longer in place like tug-of-war, pigeon shooting, and painting and the “heroic exploits” of various athletes who sought to lead their teams to victory. He even brings to light some controversial moments and “forgotten” records. This compilation of beautiful photographs and true accounts is a great option for any Olympic fan.




The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics – Daniel James Brown

This is the ultimate story about overcoming the odds, teamwork, and what it means to be a champion. Eight boys, the sons of shipyard workers, farmers, and loggers, formed the University of Washington’s team. Nobody expected them to triumph over Great Britain’s or the East Coast’s teams, especially not Germany’s champions. However, these working-class boys did just that and more. At the center of the story is Joe Rantz, a teenage boy with neither family or prospects “who rows not only to regain his shattered self-regard but also to find a real place for himself in the world.” Author Daniel James Brown utilizes these boys’ journals and memories to craft this extraordinary history and unforgettable achievement.




The Big Olympic Quiz Book – P4P Publishers

If you think you know an impressive amount of Olympics facts and trivia, then challenge yourself to complete over 200 crossword puzzles and another handful of quizzes! The questions range from covering Olympic history to the Olympic athletes themselves. Inspirational quotes by famous Olympians are also strewn throughout the pages. This is ideal for adults and older children who love the Olympics!