Showdown at Shepherd's Bush: The 1908 Olympic Marathon and the Three Runners Who Launched a Sporting Craze, by David Davis
This one is a straight-up MUST READ for the Olympics. It tells the true story of the 1908 Summer Olympics--which were held in LONDON--and the exciting, and even shocking, circumstances of the marathon event. How can a marathon be shocking and exciting? Well, it was a fairly new event, for one thing. Most countries didn't have athletes who had trained for that kind of distance, and the officials didn't even know how to judge such an event (at one point, one of the officials steps in to help a runner who collapses). Pretty much everything you think you know about marathons today owes its origins to this race. You won't want to miss this one!
Looking for some Olympic-themed fiction? You can't go wrong with Chris Cleave's Gold. The story revolves around two Olympic cyclists who are best friends and fierce rivals. They've spent their lives training and competing and are about to face their last Olympics against one another: the London 2012 games. It's a book that combines genuine human drama (one of the two athletes has a sick child) with face-paced competition. It sounds silly, but I really was "racing" through the book to find out what happened next!
Road to Valor: A True Story of WWII Italy, the Nazis, and the Cyclist Who Inspired a Nation, by Aili McConnon and Andres McConnon
Okay, this one's not strictly Olympic themed. It's actually about the Tour de France, but I thought it was close enough to satisfy your sports related reading urges!
Have any Olympic reading recommendations? I'd love to hear them!