The Olympics' 50 Craziest Stories:
A Five Ring Circus
By Les Woodland
Back to McGann Publishing's home page
Suggested Retail price: $16.95 US
6 x 9 trade paperback, 160 pages
Publisher: McGann Publishing
Get the book:
Amazon.com print and Kindle eBook
Amazon UK print
Amazon UK Kindle eBook
Barnes and Noble print
Powell's Books print
Watermark Books and Cafe print
Indie Bound print (they'll set you up with a local book shop)
From the Boston Globe, July 22, 2012:
OK, so this last title is a bit cheesy — in his author photo, Les Woodland hoists a beer — but a guilty pleasure. The Olympics’ 50 Craziest Stories (McGann, 2011) chalks up the 1912 Canadian golfer medalist who walked to his prize ceremony on his hands and the 1928 Australian rower who stopped to let a row of ducklings pass. Along the way, you learn that Dr. Benjamin Spock won a medal for rowing, and that the guy who played Oddjob, from the James Bond movies, was an Olympic weightlifter. I admit it, I’m a sucker for Olympic tales and trivia like this. It’s pure gold.
Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger) is the motto of the International Olympic Committee. After reading Les Woodland’s The Olympics’ 50 Craziest Stories the reader might wonder if the motto should be Sillier, Loonier, Crazier.
There is the gentle rower who was winning his race when he stopped his scull to avoid scattering a mother duck and her ducklings—we’ll let your read the book to find out how he did—and the American socialites who showed up for a golf game in Paris and accidentally ended up in the Olympic golf contest. There was so much confusion that year they never learned one of them had become Olympic champion. Oh, and the men’s Olympic golf champion had actually journeyed to Paris to play tennis.
Shooting live pigeons was an event in the 1900 Olympics, but there’s no mention today of the competition out of embarrassment over the 300 dead and maimed birds on the ground that revulsed the spectators. We can’t forget the Jamaican bobsled team nor the Russian KGB colonel who rigged the scoring in fencing and managed to create an international incident. They are all in The Olympics’ 50 Craziest Stories, along with dozens more athletes who managed to attain fame they would rather not have earned.
In addition to the 50 stories of competitors behaving badly, or at least oddly, Les Woodland has sprinkled collections of interesting and sometimes improbable Olympics facts throughout, making The Olympics’ 50 Craziest Stories fun from cover to cover.
As the author of 26 books, Les Woodland knows how to tell a story and here he’s in fine form. Join him in his trip to the crazy side of sports.
Les Woodland is a tall and balding man who never once troubled the judges in his lengthy and persistently unsuccessful career as a racing cyclist. Having failed to make even a mild profit at cycling, let alone a living, he took to writing about it and anything else that struck his fancy. That was in London in 1970. His mother dismissed the idea as no job for a grown man. Mrs. Woodland is no longer with us and her son now lives in southwest France. But somewhere unseen, she is shaking her head in despair.