Thursday, August 11, 2016

Olympic Stories

You guys, the Olympics is seriously cutting into my reading time these days. Honestly, it's cutting into my everything time. I race to get my kids in bed as quickly as possible and then just plop on the couch and do nothing for the rest of the evening but watch the prime time coverage. It's such an addiction, but I can't help myself. (Also, it's becoming a bit of a pregnancy tradition, considering I was pregnant with Henry during the last Winter Olympics and did nothing but sit and watch and groan with nausea during every commercial involving food. My goal for the next Olympics? NOT be pregnant. It's a bit depressing watching people performing at their physical peak while I'm at my physical low point.)

But speaking of my reading life, I had every intention of doing some appropriate theme reading during this Olympics. Alas, I'm still three people away on the waiting list at my library for The Boys in the Boat, so I likely won't be getting around to that until some time next month (it's so difficult to time library wait lists). So I thought I'd look around and see what else the reading world had to offer on the Olympic theme.

Honestly? It's a bit uninspiring.

I found this Goodreads list, which apart from the first two, contained books that I'd never heard of and didn't seem particularly interesting (also, I think it's a bit of a stretch to include Unbroken at all. I mean, yes, he does go to the Olympics, but it's hardly the focus of the story). Have you heard of any of the others on that list? Any of them good? Interesting? Worth my time?

Then I saw this list earlier this week, which, look, I totally appreciate what it's trying to do. So there's a darker side to the Olympics, and that's important to understand. But I guess I'm just not in the mood to be all depressed and cynical about the Olympics right now.

I find it interesting that there aren't more (popular) books about the Olympics out there because, come on! There are so many inspiring stories here! Aren't people telling these stories?

Yes. Hollywood is telling these stories. I guess movies own the rights to most the good Olympic stories, which is fine. I like movies. I just don't have time to watch any right now, because all my screen time is being taken up by the LIVE drama going on in Brazil. But just in case anyone's interested, here are a few of my favorites.

Cool Runnings - So funny. So good. I just love this movie so much, I really need to watch it again.

Miracle - I don't even like hockey, but yeah, this one is just too good. Don't we all love a good underdog story (especially when it involves beating the Russians)?

The Cutting Edge - Oh, wait, this one's fictional. But ah, still, my teenage self just loved this cheesy romance so much. It's just fun.

But wait, these are all Winter Olympic movies. Aren't there any good stories about the Summer Olympics? Well, yes, obviously there's Chariots of Fire, but I haven't seen that one yet, so I can't truthfully recommend it (but I think the four Oscars and iconic status might speak for themselves).

Okay, what else is out there? Where are all the good Olympic stories?


  1. There's a movie that just came out called "Race" about Jesse Owens story of going to the 1936 Olympics. I've only seen the trailer but it looks good. And I know I did a report on Jim Thorpe in the 6th grade but can't remember what books I read about him. :) But The Boys in The Boat was fantastic!

    1. Wow, of course! The Jesse Owens story would make a perfect movie. Kind of can't believe it hasn't been done already. And I'm very much looking forward to The Boys in the Boat.

  2. So again, not summer olympic related (and also not a book, sorry) but have you heard the RadioLab episode on figure skating? Phenomenal. http://www.radiolab.org/story/edge/

    1. Love RadioLab! Will have to give that a listen. Thanks!

  3. I feel like I could have written this post! I also wanted to do some Olympic reading but was totally uninspired by what I found, and I was thinking the same thing: there are so many amazing Olympic stories! WHY aren't they being told?! We need more books like The Boys in the Boat. I just find myself having a hard time getting excited about fiction when there are so many inspiring and incredible true stories. But here's one I DO love (it's a picture book): Wilma Unlimited by Kathleen Krull. I cry every time I read it.

    1. Oh, I didn't even think of picture books! I bet there are a bunch of great ones. I'll have to try to find Wilma Unlimited. Thanks!