Book of the week: Treasures of the Olympic Winter Games
Saturday 25 January 2014
Britain may be minnows when it comes to winter sports, but we did invent modern sledding, and we’ve had our moments in figure skating too. Indeed, as this book reminds us, figure skating first appeared on the Olympic schedule in London in 1908.
Carlton have carved out a niche in publishing well-researched and lavishly illustrated histories of major sporting events, with the added twist that they include a bundle of facsimile printed ephemera. This one, using material culled from the International Olympic Committee’s archive, is up to their usual demanding scratch.
The fun lies in the detail: for instance, the 1964 Innsbruck guide for visitors counsels those arriving by car that “anti-freeze precautions should be taken”. You don’t say. They also helpfully include Austria’s customs regulations, stipulating among other things that visitors may only bring in “one camera, with 12 plates or two rolls of film”, which sounds rather stingy.
A letter to the IOC from the 1960 Squaw Valley organising committee queries a regulation that apparently requires men and woman to be segregated, stating firmly that “considering the relatively small size of our Village, we are not intending to erect a fence around the building accommodating female competitors exclusively”. Back in 1932, another letter to the IOC from the panicked Lake Placid organisers bemoans the number of countries threatening to pull out due to lack of funds in the recession.
As you would expect from an official IOC publication, the text is resolutely non-contentious: no mention of the Salt Lake City 2002 bribery scandal, or the hoo-ha over gay rights in Russia that has shadowed the build-up to this year’s Winter Games. But as a celebration of the strictly sporting side of this quadrennial show in the snow it’s a delight.
Published in hardback with inclusions by Carlton, £30
How Liverpool can catch Manchester United and secure Champions League football next season
Arsenal transfer news: 'We are not close to signing anybody. We need to lose some players,' says Arsene Wenger
Danny Jones: Keighley Cougars half-back dies after cardiac arrest during league game
Chelsea season player ratings: Grading the entire squad of the new Premier League champions
Floyd Mayweather beats Manny Pacquiao by a unanimous points decision - but Pacquiao thinks he should have won, saying 'he did nothing'
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 4 The top 50 cities for young people to live in
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils