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XXV Olympiad: Barcelona 1992, Lillehammer 1994

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722 pages5 hours

Summary

XXV Olympiad, the twenty-third volume in The Olympic Century series, begins with the story of the Barcelona Summer Games of 1992. The Barcelona Games were the first without boycotts since 1972, and played host to a wealth of nations participating for the first time.

The book explores how the Barcelona Games reflected a rapidly changing world. With the devolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Barcelona played host to teams from the Baltic States and to a “Unified Team” made up of athletes from the former Soviet republics. The former member states of Yugoslavia participated as independent nations, and South Africa was welcomed back into the Olympic fold for the first time since 1960. The book also profiles heroes of Barcelona like the Chinese diver Fu Mingxia, who became the youngest-ever Olympic gold medalist at age 13; and Vitaly Scherbo of Belarus, who won four golds in artistic gymnastics in a single day.

Following Barcelona, the book turns its focus to the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway, the first Winter Games not held in the same year as the Summer Games. Lillehammer featured aerial skiing as a full event for the first time, and saw Australia win its first ever Winter Olympic medal. The book also tells the story of the drama swirling around the women’s figure skating competition, where Americans Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding battled with eventual gold-medal winner Oksana Baiul of Ukraine.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, former President of the International Olympic Committee, called The Olympic Century, “The most comprehensive history of the Olympic games ever published”.

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