The 100 Greatest Olympians and Paralympians, By Nick Callow

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The Independent Culture

As an "Official London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Publication", it isn't surprising that this glossy, large-format hardback celebrates a high proportion of British athletes. Lord Coe is included, of course.

In 1984 at Los Angeles, he became the first runner to have won successive 1,500m gold medals. He also provides the book's stirring introduction. Striding into an unassailable lead in the picture shown above is "The Flying Dutchwoman" Fanny Blankers-Koen, the 30-year-old mother of two who won four gold medals at the 1948 London Games and was crowned the IAAF's "Female Athlete of the 20th Century".

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