The 2012 Olympics begin today in London, and we have lots of great resources about the history, legacy and impact of the Games. Here’s a sampling from our collections:
The Olympic Games is unquestionably the greatest sporting event on earth, with television audiences measured in billions of viewers. By what process did the Olympics evolve into this multi-national phenomenon? How can an understanding of the Olympic Games help us to better understand international sport and society? And what will be the true impact and legacy of the London Olympics in 2012?
Fighting the current : the rise of American women’s swimming, 1870-1926, by Lisa Bier
In 1926, Gertrude Ederle became the first female to swim the English Channel–and broke the existing record time in doing so. Although today she is considered a pioneer in women’s swimming, women were swimming competitively 50 years earlier. This historical book details the early period of women’s competitive swimming in the United States, from its beginnings in the nineteenth century through Ederle’s astonishing accomplishment. Women and girls faced many obstacles to safe swimming opportunities, including restrictive beliefs about physical abilities, access to safe and clean water, bathing suits that impeded movement and became heavy in water, and opposition from official sporting organizations.
Beijing Taxi, a film by Miao Wang
The 2008 Summer Olympic Games serve as the backdrop for this story–a coming out party for a rising nation and a metaphor for Chinese society and its struggles to reconcile enormous contradictions while adjusting to a new capitalist system. Candid and perceptive in its filming approach and highly cinematic and moody in style, Beijing Taxi takes the viewer on a lyrical journey through fragments of a society riding the bumpy roads to modernization.