Longform’s Olympics Primer

Contributing editors Elon Green and Gretchen Gavett, both of whom are more than a little excited for the Summer Games in London, have pulled together 10 great stories about the Olympics, spanning history, scandal and science … and what it’s like to drink with gymnastics coach Béla Károlyi. Should be more than enough to tide you over before the Games get started.


  1. The Little-Known History of How the Olympics Got Their Start

    Frank Deford • Smithsonian • Jul 2012

    The first modern games were staged in 1850 by a surgeon named William Penny Brookes in a town called Much Wenlock.

  2. High Hurdles and White Gloves

    Thomas P. Curtis • The Atlantic • Dec 1956

    An American gold medalist in the hurdles describes his experience at the 1896 Olympics in Athens.

  3. Letter From Munich

    E.J. Kahn • New Yorker • Sep 1972

    On the scene of the darkest games in Olympic history.

  4. The Search for Nadia

    Bob Ottum • Sports Illustrated • Nov 1979

    Three years after her gold-medal performance—and amidst rumors of a fall from grace—the author travels to Transylvania to track down gymnast Nadia Comaneci. He also enjoys several drinks with her coach, Béla Károlyi.

  5. The Greatest Game Nobody Ever Saw

    Jack McCallum • Sports Illustrated • Jul 2012

    On the eve of the 1992 Summer Olympics, the Dream Team held a closed-door scrimmage in Monaco. Michael Jordan led one team, Magic Johnson the other. Two decades later, a game report.

  6. The Ballad of Richard Jewell

    Marie Brenner • Vanity Fair • Feb 1997

    How the media and law enforcement fingered the wrong man for the 1996 Olympic Park bombing.

  7. Ben Still Needs to Run

    Mark Kram • Outside • May 2004

    More than 15 years after he was stripped of a gold medal, sprinter Ben Johnson attempts a comeback.

  8. Will You Still Medal in the Morning?

    Sam Alipour • ESPN • Jul 2012

    Sex in the Olympic Village.

  9. One One-Hundredth of a Second Faster

    Mark McClusky • Wired • Jun 2012

    How science is “helping athletes approach perfection.”

  10. The Living Nightmare

    Barry Bearak • New York Times • Feb 2012

    Quanitta Underwood, who was sexually abused by her father as a child, is now a contender for the gold medal in boxing.

Notes

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    Antes de las olimpiadas, un poco de historias y artículos acerca del
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