Contained within the pages of this encyclopaedic book is anything anyone could ever need or want to know about the modern Olympic Games.
It provides a complete statistical record since the founding of the modern Games in 1896 - from medals won to times, distances or scores recorded by the top eight competitors in all events, whether they be Olympic staples such as the marathon or long-discontinued competitions such as Olympic croquet or the tug of war. But this is much more than a dry compendium of names, numbers and scoring systems.
It also contains a summary history of each event at each of the 26 modern Games enriched with an extraordinary wealth of Olympic lore and anecdote. David Wallechinsky and Jaime Loucky provide thought-provoking analysis of issues and controversies from shamateurism to drug-taking and corruption and they have sieved through more than a century of Olympic history to assemble a mind-boggling collection of stories that range from the inspiring, through the comic to the bizarre. Here you can read about long-forgotten characters such as the boy who was plucked from the streets of Paris to act as cox for two Dutch oarsmen in the paired-oar event in 1900 and, after steering them to victory and a Gold Medal, returned to obscurity, his name unknown to this day, or the 72-year-old winner of a silver medal for target-shooting.
In short this is the essential companion to the greatest sporting festival in the world. David Wallechinsky was introduced to the Olympics when his father, the novelist Irving Wallace, took him to the 1960 Games in Rome. He has since produced seven editions of this book plus four editions of its companion volume, The Complete Book of the Winter Olympics, latterly in collaboration with his nephew, Jaime Loucky, together with many other reference books