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The Secret Olympian: The Inside Story of the Olympic Experience

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Secret Olympian: The Inside Story of the Olympic Experience.pdf | Language: ENGLISH

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The vast majority of us can only dream of being an Olympic-level athlete - but we have no real idea of what that means. Here, for the first time, in all its shocking, funny and downright bizarre glory, is the truth of the Olympic experience.

It is an unimaginable world:
the kitting-out ceremony with its 35kg of team clothing per athletethe pre-Olympic holding camp with its practical jokes, resentment and fighting, and freaky physiological regimesthe politicians' visits with their flirty spousesthe vast range of athletes with their odd body shapes and freakish geneticsthe release post-competion in the Olympic village with all the excessive drinking, eating, partying and sex (not necessarily in that order)the hysteria of homecoming celebrations and the comedown that follows - how do you adjust to life after the Games?
The Secret Olympian talks to scores of Olympic athletes - past and present, from Munich 1960 right through to London 2012, including British, American, Australian, Dutch, French, Croatian, German, Canadian and Italian competitors. They all have a tale to tell - and most of those tales would make your eyes pop more than an Olympic weightlifter's.

The anonymous author is a former Olympian with friends and contacts in many countries' Olympic squads. He knows things....

3.4 (10338)
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Book details

  • PDF | 224 pages
  • Anon(Author)
  • A&C Black (July 3, 2012)
  • English
  • 7
  • Sports & Outdoors

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Review Text

  • By Mr. Joe on May 25, 2013

    "For over a thousand years Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of triumph, a tumultuous parade. In the procession came trumpeteers, musicians and strange animals from conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments. The conquerors rode in a triumphal chariot, the dazed prisoners walking in chains before him. Sometimes his children robed in white stood with him in the chariot or rode the trace horses. A slave stood behind the conqueror holding a golden crown and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting." - Gen. George C. Patton"'Aeint what did you dooo?' she asks politely, not looking that interested." - Anon in THE SECRET OLYMPIAN, quoting Queen Elizabeth's question to him during Her Majesty's post-Games audience with Team Great BritainTHE SECRET OLYMPIAN, written anonymously by a male member of Great Britain's national team in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, is a comprehensive account of what it's like to compete in the Games based on his own experience and that of many other former and current Olympians. Anon was, evidently, one of the runners in the track and field category. He didn't win a medal.Anon takes the reader the full gamut of the Olympic experience from selection for the national team to the homecoming and ultimately de rigueur post-competition deflation. The author leaves no subject unaddressed, even if only superficially, and includes: in-country arrival, the Olympic village, the opening ceremonies, food, freebies, doping scandals, parties, sponsorships, skill practice, maintaining mental motivation, pre-event angst, event performance, uniform bartering for souvenirs, the closing ceremonies, the welcome home to a grateful nation, and much more.And, of course, there's the topic driven by prurient interest that perhaps encourages many to crack the book at all:"Having completed competition, the athletes need to do something else to burn off their boundless energy ... like thoroughbred racehorses which haven't had a run out for a while, they get frisky. You can almost smell a fine haze of testosterone and oestrogen wafting through the air ... No one need know about your indiscretions ... What does all this mean? Sex, and plenty of it, increasing exponentially through the Games as more and more athletes finishing competing."The most interesting chapter for me was the last, "The Dark Side of the Moon", in which Anon describes the emotional, mental, and physical letdowns experienced by the athletes home once again, especially if they decide their Olympic days are over and lives must be refocused and redirected. The repercussions can be devastating.My only quarrel with Anon's narrative is that it is told with very little humor, self-deprecatory or otherwise. The absence of that spark reduces THE SECRET OLYMPIAN from a must-read to just a very good one. In any case, I suspect the reader will never view another Olympiad in the same way ever again.

  • By DACHokie on July 16, 2012

    With the 2012 Summer Olympics starting in a few weeks, my Olympic Fever was brought out of remission early after reading an online sampling of THE SECRET OLYMPIAN. The tantalizing summary of a book that gives an insider's view of the Games was too much to pass up. Even more enticing was the fact that the author preferred anonymity ... alluding to the revelation of some deep and damaging stuff. What better way to start watching the Games than finding the disgusting and disturbing filth that hides behind the triumphant pomp and circumstance of the Olympics? Would this landmark expose turn my view of the Olympics upside-down and tear down everything that I thought was righteous and holy about the greatest sports show on the planet? Unfortunately, THE SECRET OLYMPIAN proved to be a false start, scratch, fault or any other sport-specific analogy I haven't listed. While vaguely informative on a superficial level, there really isn't enough evidence provided to earn the use of the word "secret" in the book's title and certainly no real justification for the author's anonymity.This book had a lot of promise, but ended up being a rather ho-hum (and brief) summary of journal entries by a British athlete who participated in the Athens Games (2004). The chapters of the book are separated by the steps of the Olympic experience ... more simply, a before, during and after story. The anonymous author leads each chapter with a summary of his own personal experience in italics (basically a journal entry). The rest of the chapter is comprised of other Olympians' take on the chapter's subject matter. The contributing Olympians cover a span that goes back as far as the 1960 Summer Games.While there are some interesting details such as the literal pounds of free stuff (kit) heaped on the athletes and some of the nuances associated with life in the Olympic Village, there simply isn't anything provided that should get readers overly excited. Quite frankly, I found the author's take on the Olympics to be sadly akin to exam week in college with exams being the events and grades being the medals. Even the tempered revelry of those who finished competition in order to respect the peace and quiet needed for those who haven't yet competed, echoes dorm-life during exam week. The author does shine light on all the over-sexed condom use as being a lot of hype (after seeing individuals from the Indian Olympic team hording hundreds of the logo-encased condoms to sell as souvenirs). Anon also taps the surface of few scandals that most of the world already knows about (US Hockey team disgrace in Nagano, the `roid use of Ben Johnson and Marion Jones) but never really digs deeper to unearth anything new or shocking. Certainly nothing, at least superficially, that would warrant the necessity of anonymity. The supportive commentary from other Olympians is mostly milquetoast page fodder that simply follows the author's lead ... safe and somewhat dull. With the experience of 50 years to draw from, one would expect a lot more compelling stories being told. With that being said, the Winter Olympics is pretty much ... er ... left out in the cold by this book.Most of the athletes contributing to the book participated in athletic events that are more popular outside the United States (men's field hockey, fencing, rowing, etc), so American readers may be disappointed in the lack of perspective from sports they are more familiar with. I do not believe, however, that this is the problem with the book. The main issue, in my opinion, is the lack of gossipy expose material. No juicy details of shenanigans within the Olympic Village, corruption amongst the judges and officials or host-city horrors ... just a humble account of one Olympian's somewhat uneventful experience. With Olympic Games of the past 50 years covered, one would expect an almost limitless source of material to be revealed. Another sticking point is that I found a lack of passion in the author's story and this lack of passion, excitement and detail makes the entire book seem like a 215 page ramble. THE SECRET OLYMPIAN simply doesn't live up to its hyped title or the need for the author to be anonymous ... I was expecting more, much more.

  • By Nigel H on July 26, 2012

    Really enjoyed it. I spotted this in the Financial Times (which called it 'Wonderful' and 'Olympic standard'). It's got material from many Olympians including an American gold medalist. Topical and insightful.

  • By sixpence24 on October 8, 2012

    I'm sorry but I really didn't enjoy this book. I got hald way through and gave up out of pure boredom. It was so slow paced and full of other olympians accounts of their experiences. I thought it was going to be faced paced and full of very exciting stories but for me it just fell flat. maybe the other half of the book was great but I don't see how.

  • By Ian McKenzie on October 20, 2012

    Whilst this is an excellent book that I thoroughly recommend in its current form I also agree with other reviewers that there is no need for the author to be anonymous. Indeed, the book would be much better and have more credibility if the author had named and included more details about his event (both in training and in competition, especially the Olympics). He writes well and covers all the topics that I can think of that are relevant and includes informative and helpful quotes from other Olympic athletes. Since there is nothing in this sensible, responsible book that in any way requires him being anonymous (in my opinion) his refusal to include details about his event makes it less interesting to the reader and stops us from more fully appreciating his efforts as an athlete and an author.I would hope that he can bring out a revised edition in which he abandons his anonymity, includes all relevant details about his event and receives the recognition and respect that he deserves as an author and as an Olympic athlete.Even in its current form The Secret Olympian is well worth purchasing and reading.

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