Olympic Facts and Fables: Best Stories from the First 100 Years of the Olympics

Olympic Facts & Fables book by Tom Ecker

To order book, send $25.00 to:

Tom Ecker
P.O. Box 1141
Cedar Rapids, IA 52406

Shipping included within USA.

For shipping to other countries, please contact Tom for information:


Tom Ecker has extensively researched the first hundred years of the Olympic Games. His book was first published in 1996, and he continues his indepth study of the games. This 2008 second edition is 156 pages, hard cover and illustrated. Tom Ecker's book, Olympic Facts and Fables, is available for $25.00 postage paid to addresses within United States. Please contact Tom for shipping rates to other countries.

Here are a few samples of the interesting facts contained in the book.

  • When the modern Olympics began in 1896, it was agreed there would be no discrimination on the basis of status, politics, religion, or race. However, women would not be allowed to participate.
  • At the 1960 Olympics in Rome, the champion in the light heavyweight boxing competition was a brash young fighter named Cassius Clay, who later changed his name to Muhammad Ali. At ringside, encouraging the young fighter was singer and boxing enthusiast Bing Crosby.
  • At the 1896 Olympics in Athens, the 1500-meter run was won by an Australian, Edwin Flack. But the Greek officials announced that the winner was an American. When it was pointed out to them that Flack was an Australian, a Greek official remarked, "Oh, well, that is about the same thing."
  • Security was not an important issue at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. Only 200 police officers were hired for security and crowd control during the Games. Security at the Olympic Village consisted of cowboys on horseback armed with lassos.
  • The first song written about a sports hero was composed in 1909, a year after the Olympics were held in London. In the Olympic marathon in 1908, Dorando Pietri of Italy had collapsed just before the finish. He had lost the race, but he also had become a sports hero. The song, "Dorando", was written by a struggling 21-year-old singing waiter named Israel Baline, who had recently changed his name to Irving Berlin.
  • In the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, women in the track and field events were told that their shorts had to be long enough to come within 4 inches of their knees. Compare that with beach volleyball apparel today.
  • Security was tight for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. When a track coach who was working with athletes at the University of Southern California track took a starter's pistol out of his pocket, a security officer jumped him and wrestled him to the ground.
  • The star of the rowing competition in the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp was Jack Kelly, a bricklayer from Philadelphia. He won gold medals in both the single and double skulls. His daughter, Grace, gained even more prominence that her father, first as an Academy Award-winning actress, and later as Princess Grace of Monaco.