227 x 153 x 20mm
'Olympic Babylon' is a wildly funny, unashamedly vitriolic and utterly engrossing celebration of the darker side of the Olympic Games - that quadrennial orgy of sports, nationalism and marketing that has become the greatest show on earth.
Tracing the bizarre history of the Games from ancient Greece to Atlanta, this book focuses less on Olympic heroes than Olympic weirdoes - the men who raced as women in the 1930s, the marathon victors who gargled strychnine and brandy before the First World War, the wrestling champion who was murdered by Americas's richest fruitcake, the rower who stopped mid-race to let a brood of ducklings cross the course in front of his boat before going on to win gold.
'Olympic Babylon gleefully records the obscene bidding process that cities go through in order to win the Games, tells of the outrageous marketing and sponsorship deals which made the modern Games tick, and revels in the ever-more preposterous mascots, opening and closing ceremonies and twisted rituals associated with the world's biggest circus.
Above all else, this 'Olympic Babylon' looks affectionately at the athletes themselves - from acts of selfless sportsmanship to outright fraud, cheating, criminality and malice.
This is the untold story of the Olympic Games - sometimes heroic, sometimes tragic and frequently comic.