Gold Medal Reading, an Olympic-themed Reader’s Advisory from the Youth Department

We are over halfway through the Tokyo Olympic Games and it has been an exciting ride. There are a lot of interesting stories about the games throughout the years.

Did you know that St. Louis was the first U.S. city to host the Olympic games in 1904? Did you know that skateboarding is a brand new sport featured in the Olympics this year? Did you know that a family of ducks slowed down Australian rowing champion Bobby Pierce during his race and he still won the gold?!?

Well, you can learn so much more about these historic games when you stop by the library. Here are a few books you may want to check out.

A Passion for Victory by Benson Bobrick

From the publisher: From the barefoot races of 8th century BC to the underwater obstacle courses in the early 20th century to the high-tension Berlin Games preceding World War II, the Olympics have always been exciting dramas of athletic prowess and human interest.  In A Passion for Victory, award-winning author Benson Bobrick tells the details of the captivating story of the Olympic Games, starting with their inception in Ancient Greece. This wonderfully readable narrative is rich with anecdotes and profiles of athletes and weaves in important historical events to create a complete picture of each installment of the Games. This thorough account of an international fixation is gripping, poignant, and occasionally hilarious.

“Why does a golf ball have dimples? Why does a belly flop hurt so much?” This book will explain the science behind some of your most asked sports questions. Each chapter asks a question, tells a story and then gives a detailed scientific answer. It also provides safe, hands-on experiments for young scientists to learn more about the science of sports. (BTW – a golf ball has dimples to provide air-resistance so the ball goes farther)

Sports Science by Sean Connolly
She Persisted in Sports by Chelsea Clinton

At the second modern Olympic games in Paris a woman named Margaret Ives Abbott became the first female Olympic champion from the United States. She earned the title playing golf, a sport that most women didn’t play at the time. Wilma Rudolf overcame many childhood health problems and racial discrimination to become the first American woman to win 3 gold medals in one Olympic game. Gertrude Ederle was hearing impaired and was told by her coach that women weren’t built to swim the English channel. Not only did she swim it, but she set a record that held for 20 years. These are just some of the stories of amazing women who persisted in sports against all the odds.

There has been a lot of talk about Simone Biles during this year’s Olympic games, but one thing is for sure, she is an AMAZING athlete. From the publisher: “Before she was a record-breaking gymnast competing on the world stage, Simone Biles spent time in foster care as a young child.

When she was six years old, Simone’s grandparents Ron and Nellie Biles adopted Simone and her sister Adria. Ron and Nellie became their parents. Simone was also introduced to gymnastics that same year, launching a lifelong passion fueled by remarkable talent, sacrifice, and the undying support of her family.”

Flying High by Michelle Meadows

Want to know more? Read about some interesting Olympic facts by checking out Olympic Trivia by Marty Gitlin. Learn more about one of the new Olympic sports this year by checking out Karate by Terry Allen Hicks. Find out about the lives of more amazing athletes in biographies like Wilma Unlimited by Kathleen Krull, Who Was Jesse Owens? by James Buckley Jr., and She’s Got This by Laurie Hernandez. There are so many wonderful stories about the athletes and teams who inspire us every day.

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