Read like an Olympian

The London 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremonies officially kick off tomorrow (though soccer is already underway), and we hope you’ll cheer on as some of your fave athletes from your fave countries participate in your fave events (this blogger likes to watch track and field and diving!).

London Olympics flyer with Greek discus throwing statue in front of Big Ben

Photo from The National Archives UK via Flickr Commons

If you want to dive even deeper into the spirit of this spectacular once-every-four-years event that is the Summer Olympics, here’s some books, movies and video games from the UGL’s collection for you to sprint, jump, row, kick, swim, paddle, run, flip, volley, putt, or cycle through!*

book cover: Greek Black figure pottery with athletes wearing running shoes

The Naked Olympics: The True Story  of the Ancient Games

Dig deep into the pagan ritual that was the ancient Olympics. Yes, the modern Olympics have been around for what seems like forever (116 years), but the ancient ones were held for over a millenium: 1200 years in all! There’s lots of history, culture, athleticism, and apparently nudity, to be learned about from this great read.

This Great Symbol: Pierre de Coubertin and the Origins of the Modern Olympic Games (also available online)

Pierre de Coubertin, the father of the modern Olympics, was a French baron with a passion for sport. If you’re a history, anthropology, sports, and/or biography buff, pick this up at your earliest convenience. Part biography of Coubertin, part history of the founding of the games, all thrilling look into the theories and dreams behind the modern games.

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games

Not much needs to be said about this Nintendo DS game; it’s all in the title. Race, swim, jump, and play for the bronze, silver or gold as your fave Nintendo hero. Play it during the commercial breaks while watching the coverage of the real Olympics! (p.s. you can check out a DS from the UGL, too!)

Beijing 2008

Another awesome Olympics video game guaranteed to make you feel like you’ve trained as hard as the real-life Olympic athletes (okay, maybe not quite). Instead of doing the long jump as Yoshi, in this Playstation 3 game you play as an athlete participating as part of a national team in one of over 30 events. Sweet.

DVD cover: British athlete being carried on shoulders of fans in front of Union JackChariots of Fire

A classic in the Olympics genre! Chariots of Fire follows two men participating in track and field on the Great Britain team during the 1924 Paris Olympics. Each has his own deep-rooted, complicated reasons for giving it his all. It won four Academy Awards in its day, so besides being a tale of Olympic glory, it’s also great cinema.

* Library books don’t like to get wet, though, so be sure not to take them swimming, diving or water polo-ing with you if you get inspired. They also appreciate not being kicked, volleyed, putted, or jumped on.

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