To live in a classical university town with a generally rather bibliophile society has a number of advantages. One of them is the high quantity (and quality!) of frequent book markets, public or privately organized, where you can find some wonderful literary gems. Last sunday, I already went to my third bookmarket this spring. While I love going through the many astonishingly old and several still relatively modern books, there is always one stand with a box, half-hidden behind the classics of Heine, Goethe, Kant and Plato, old children’s books or 19th century travel guides. This box, I’m always searching for at such a market, contains Olympic books, memories and reports from once upon a time, often including, at least from my perspective, some real treasures.
So, here they are! Three of the latest additions to my Olympic book collection:
- The first one is a beautiful and very insightful book on the Games of Squaw Valley and Rome in 1960, full of first hand reports and so many wonderful and historic pictures. Such as the one from the visit of renowned world champion Floyd Patterson to the US amateur boxing team. The young and aspiring boxer next to Patterson remains unnamed in the description of the photograph, but a few years later the whole world would recognize his face, and they would call him ‘The Greatest’…
- The second book is some sort of an official presentation (though not the official report, I think…) by the National Olympic Committee of (West) Germany, published after the Games of Munich in 1972. It is a huge edition, focussing not so much on journalistic reports of the events but rather images and some accompanying short, sometimes even poetic, texts written by authors like Wolfgang Koeppen, Carl Zuckmayer and Friedrich Torberg, each time including English, French and Spanish translations.
- Last but not least, my personal favourite: ‘Olympia der Reiter’, published by the Deutsche Reiterliche Vereinigung. 240 pages focussing entirely on the Equestrian events of Montreal (or rather Bromont) 1976. Lots and lots of pictures and outstanding reports on every single detail of all of the competitions. The book contains detailed course descriptions and a large section, evaluating the performances of each and every competitor in the Dressage arena.