The 2012 London Olympics are here. To mark the event, New Books in Sports offers another of its occasional seminar episodes. And as with any great seminar, you’ll be eager to tell people what you’ve learned. Our slate of Olympic experts don’t offer any medal predictions. But you will find out about Coca-Cola’s first Olympic promotion. You’ll learn how traditional Chinese medicine can cure the snarled hamstring of a hurdler. And you’ll discover the truth about Kerri Strug’s gold medal-winning vault in 1996.
The double-length episode features a full roster of scholars and journalists. Historians Martin Polley and Jean Williams tell us about Britain’s long connection with the Olympics, while Barbara Keys explains why the Thirties were a pivotal decade in the history of international athletics. We hear from Mark Dyreson and Andrew Billings about Americans’ nationalist view of the Olympics, both with the early games and today. Steve Menary talks about nationalism within the UK and how that has stoked controversy over the British men’s football team that will compete in the London games. We learn about the gains and losses that come with hosting an Olympics from economist Victor Matheson. Looking back four years after the Beijing games, anthropologist Susan Brownell tells us about sport in China. And Sports Illustrated photographer Bill Frakes talks about his experiences covering the games over the last three decades. You’ll hear Bill describe the moment that most stands out for him in career of covering the games, and our other guests will likewise share the reasons they enjoy the Olympics as fans as well as researchers. And if you’re looking for the right book on the Olympics, for that last summer weekend, they’ll have plenty of suggestions.