"Athens to Athens" is a full account of the history of the Olympic Games, its administration and the myriad triumphs, disappointments and scandals that have befallen the event since its inception in 1894. It is the illustrated, chronological story of the re-creation of the Olympic Games by Pierre de Coubertin, of the often tempestuous and controversial fortunes of the governing body (including three successive boycotts and the Salt Lake City scandal of 1998), together with the highs and lows of the Games themselves. It also tells the story of the historic competitors - from Spyridon Louis (the inaugural Marathon winner) and such heroes as Jim Thorpe, Paavo Nurmi, Sonja Heine, Jesse Owens, Fanny Blankers-Koen, Emil Zatopek, Herb Elliot, Kip Keino, Mark Spitz, Franz Klammer, Sebastian Coe, Greg Louganis and Carl Lewis, through to more recent medal winners including Steve Redgrave and Kathy Freeman. The twin evolutions of the IOC and the world's greatest sports festival unfold in alternate chapters, each of which begins with a personal reminiscence by either a famous champion or a notable IOC figure.
Detailed background is provided to the many crises - the Nazi Games of 1936; the massacre at Mexico City in 1968; the Israeli slaughter by terrorists in 1972; the boycotts; the new commercialism from 1984 onwards; the advent of professionals from 1988, up to the Ben Johnson scandal and the ongoing threat of drug abuse. The credibility of the Games, and of the IOC, was rescued by the glory of Sydney 2000. Now the sporting world awaits, with eager expectation, the Games' return in 2004 to the country of their ancient origins.
David Miller has been a journalist since 1956, covering 16 Summer and Winter Games. He was in the training squad for the British football team for Melbourne '56, failing to make the 'cut' for the fifteen who travelled. He is the author of biographies of Sebastian Coe and Juan Antonio Samaranch, and is joint author of The History of the International Amateur Athletic Federation.