Paris 2024: five books to read before the Olympic Games

From 1896 to 2024, History and stories of the Olympic Games

History(s) of the Olympic Games. Mareuil editions. 320 pages. €19.90.

Published by Mareuil, “History(s) of the Olympic Games” takes us back to the 33 Olympic Games from Athens in 1896 to Paris 2024, or what is commonly called the modern era of the Olympic Games. Easy to read, each chapter is associated with an Olympic year, in chronological order. Everyone will progress in reading at their own pace without necessarily following the established order, to better refer to a specific edition and discover its narrative. As such, the author Richard Wawrzyniak, a former sports journalist, did not choose the angle of a historical unfolding but preferred to tell stories and short stories recorded over the years. Anecdotes, exploits, cheating, dubious organizations and forgotten characters, this book offers another way to (re)discover the Olympic Games, both for experts and neophytes.

Much more than a guide

Unusual and erudite guide to the Games. Solar Editions. 208 pages. €24.90

Amidst the multitude of books devoted to the Olympic Games that have come to fill the shelves of bookstores and the stalls of the book sections of supermarkets, the “Unusual and erudite Guide to the Games” stands out for its content that is at once fine, funny, intelligent, surprising… Over more than 200 pages, Fabien Baumann presents us with dozens of anecdotes, gives us rich statistics, offers us tasty quotes and takes us behind the scenes of the Games, on the track and among the public. Champions and anonymous players parade before our eyes at a sustained pace and ultimately whet our appetite for July 26, the day of the opening ceremony of the Paris Olympic Games!

The French champions thank Alice

Thanks Alice. Solar Editions. 270 pages. €29.90.

“Thank you Alice” owes its name to Alice Milliat, the first leader of world women’s sport. A former sportswoman and rowing champion, she made the recognition of women in sport her fight and dedicated her life to it. The participation of women in athletics events is largely due to her. This work pays tribute to her by painting a portrait of French women medalists in the history of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Each portrait is written in three pages maximum and is accompanied by photos. Reading is easy and the book makes us want to explore and discover profiles from sports and eras that are not necessarily familiar to us.

Entirely written by the members of “Women Journalists of Sports”, this very beautiful large format book is a true saga of the champions, from Hélène Prevost, silver medalist in 1900, to Justine Braisaz-Bouchet, who won gold in 2022, including among others the adopted Picard who trained in Compiègne, Suzanne Lenglen, “the divine” according to one of her nicknames, who has advanced the cause of women’s sport so much by becoming (and remaining ) the greatest tennis champion of all time.

Sixty-five portraits of champions

“Sports superheroes”. Editions Talent Sport. 150 pages. €15.90.

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In 2024, the Olympic Games will be equal for the first time. Of the 10,500 athletes expected, 5,250 will be women. The opportunity for Syanie Dalmat to draw up 65 portraits of extraordinary sportswomen, illustrated by Andres Ramos. These portraits are classified into two categories: French superheroes (Suzanne Lenglen, Marie-José Pérec, Clarisse Agbégnénou, Gabriella Papadakis, etc.) and international superheroes (Serena Williams, Simone Biles, Lindsey Vonn, etc.). Some of them helped change history thanks to their extraordinary performances and personalities.

Approved by Léon Marchand

The 25 golden rules of mental preparation. Solar Editions. 144 pages. €19.90

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Already five times world champion, Toulouse swimmer Léon Marchand promises to be the star of the Olympic Games. Very well surrounded, he counts in particular on Thomas Sammut whom he met in 2020 and who allowed him to take a major step forward in what was then the start of his career as champion. This is, in essence, what he explains in the preface to his mentor’s book published at the beginning of the month by Solar Editions, devoted to mental preparation. Accompanied by Antoine Grynbaum, Thomas Sammut delivers here “25 golden rules”, according to the title of the work, adaptable to everyone. Moreover, the pages of the book benefit from numerous testimonies from high-level athletes, up to the afterword by Florent Manaudou.

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