Whispers of a possible crisis in Beijing are nothing new to the Olympic Games. The Olympics have been plagued with accusations of lying, cheating, doping, racism, terrorism and warmongering almost since their modern inception.

Claims of scandal at the games date back to the fifth Olympiad in 1912 when Jim Thorpe was stripped of his medals for having played semi-professional sports, and extend right through the 21st century where doping scandals and accusations of bribery amongst officials have garnered global media attention.

Discover a selection of books about the upcoming 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.

1912 - Stockholm, Sweden

American athlete Jim Thorpe was stripped of his medals after officials learned that he had played professional minor league baseball three years earlier. In solidarity, the decathlon silver medalist, Hugo Wieslander refused to accept the medals when they were offered to him. The gold medals were only restored to Thorpe in 1983, 30 years after his death. By this time, professional athletes at the Olympics were commonplace; the 1992 American Olympic basketball team consisted of million dollar NBA pros.

Pathway to Glory by Robert W. Wheeler

Pathway to Glory [Biography of Jim Thorpe]

Robert W. Wheeler

Biography of native American Jim Thorpe.

Jim Thorpe’s History of the Olympics by Jim Thorpe

Jim Thorpe’s History of the Olympics

Jim Thorpe

Rare volume in which Thorpe writes a history of the Olympic games, from its inception to 1932.

1936 - Berlin, Germany

Though the bid to win the games was secured in 1931, before the Nazi Party took over, the games were used as a political tool by Hitler’s government. Germany only allowed the "Aryan race" to compete under its flag but the story of the games was African American Jesse Owens who won four gold medals. The games also saw the debut of the Olympic torch relay, which was designed as a display of Nazi superiority.

Olympischen Spiele

Olympics or “Olympische Spiele”

Published in 1936, The two volumes are a limited edition history of the Berlin Olympics, and contain hundreds of black and white illustrations and photos of the sporting events.

Nazi Games by David Clay Large

Nazi Games: The Olympics of 1936

David Clay Large

A history of the 1936 games, how Hitler turned the games into the Third Reich's most successful public-relations coup, using them to mask their more nefarious ambitions while priming Germans to mobilize for war.

The Nazi Olympics by Richard D. Mandell

The Nazi Olympics (Sport and Society)

Richard D. Mandell

Essays follow on the Olympic involvement of the United States, Great Britain, and France, nations with misgivings about participation as well as German ally Italy and future ally Japan. Other essays examine the issues at stake in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands, which opposed Hitler's politics, despite embodying his Aryan ideal.

1968 - Mexico City, Mexico

Ten days before the opening ceremony, Plaza de las Tres Culturas in Mexico City was the scene of a massive clash between student protesters and Mexican authorities. The Tlatelolco massacre involved hundreds of students, who were protesting government and military actions within the city. The protesters were shot at or killed by the army and police during a demonstration resulting in hundreds of deaths and injuries. Fourteen days later two black US sprinters, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, staged their own protest over the treatment of blacks in America and South Africa. Each raised a gloved fist in the black power salute as the Star Spangled Banner played. Both runners were suspended from the US team and banned from the Olympic Village.

Silent Gesture by Tommie Smith

Silent Gesture: The Autobiography of Tommie Smith

Tommie Smith

Autobiography for one of the American sprinters famous for giving the black power salute.

Not the Triumph but the Struggle by Amy Bass

Not the Triumph but the Struggle: The 1968 Olympics and the Making of the Black Athlete

Amy Bass

Amy Bass uses the famous 'black power' podium salute as the centerpiece of her expansive examination of the black athlete in America.

Massacre in Mexico by Elena Poniatowska

Massacre in Mexico

Elena Poniatowska

A complete report on the Tlatelolco massacre which nearly brought the Olympics to a halt.

1972 – Munich, West Germany

On the fifth of September 1972, eight Palestinian terrorists broke into the Olympic Village and took 11 Israeli athletes hostage. The subsequent standoff in the Olympic Village lasted for almost 18 hours leaving five terrorists, all 11 hostages and a German police officer dead.

Massacre in Munich by Michael Bar Bar-Zohar

Massacre in Munich: The Manhunt for the Killers Behind the 1972 Olympics Massacre

Michael Bar Bar-Zohar

One Day in September by Simon Reeve

One Day in September: The Full Story of the 1972 Munich Olympic Massacre

Simon Reeve

Striking Back by Aaron Klein

Striking Back: The 197 Munich Olympics Massacre and Israel’s Deadly Response

Aaron Klein

Award-winning journalist Aaron Klein’s incisive and riveting account tells for the first time the full story of Munich and the Israeli counterterrorism operation it spawned. With unprecedented access to Mossad agents and an unparalleled knowledge of Israeli intelligence, Klein peels back the layers of myth and misinformation that have permeated previous books, films, and magazine articles about the “shadow war” against Black September and other terrorist groups.

1976 – Montreal, Canada

Amid concerns over safety from terrorists, and the ongoing dispute between The Peoples Republic of China (China) and the Republic of China (Taiwan) over concerns of each others legitimacy the Montreal delegation had to deal with an Olympic boycott by 28 African nations. The boycott was in response to the IOC allowing New Zealand to compete in the games even though their All Blacks rugby team continued to play against South Africa, even though South Africa had been banned from the Olympic competition since 1964 due to its apartheid policies.

1980 - Moscow, USSR

In a US lead boycott of the Soviet games in protest over the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, 62 countries refused to compete. A further 15 nations marched with the Olympic flag instead of their national flags, and used the Olympic Hymn at medal ceremonies. Ironically Afghanistan did not take part in the boycott.

The Political Olympics by Derick L. Hulme

The Political Olympics: Moscow, Afghanistan, and the 1980 U.S. Boycott

Derick L. Hulme

In this book Hulme looks at how statesmen are inclined to search for alternative means of pursuing national policy and how the manipulation of international sport is one such means.

Boycott by Jerry Caraccioli and Tom Caraccioli

Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games

Jerry Caraccioli & Tom Caraccioli (Forward by Walter F. Mondale)

Despite missing the games they had trained relentlessly to compete in, many U.S. athletes went on to achieve remarkable successes in sports and overcame the bitter disappointment of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity dashed by geopolitics.

1984 – Los Angeles

The political posturing of the Cold War continued as The Soviet Union and its allies announced a boycott of the 1984 games on the grounds of "chauvinistic sentiments and an anti-Soviet hysteria being whipped up in the United States." (As reported by the New York Times)

1984 Olympic Games by Dick Schaap

1984 Olympic Games, The - Sarajevo/Los Angeles

Dick Schaap (Introduction By James Michener)

Filled with photos, illustrations, tables, charts, detailed team analyses.

1988 - Seoul Korea

While boycotts by Cuba, Ethiopia, Nicaragua and North Korea due to the ongoing war with South Korea were noteworthy, the big story of the Seoul Olympics was the rivalry between Ben Johnson and Carl Lewis and the resulting doping scandal which would see Johnson lose his Gold Medal and world record. This high profile bust brought drug testing into the forefront of future Olympics by showing it wasn’t just the East German athletes that were juiced up.

Speed Trap by Charlie Francis

Speed Trap: Inside the Biggest Scandal in Olympic History

Charlie Francis

Tells the story of an insider's account of the world of international track and field during the time of the Ben Johnson scandal.

Faust’s Gold by Steven Ungerleider

Faust’s Gold: Inside the East German Doping Machine

Steven Ungerleider

Tells the story of East Germany’s rise in international sport and the state-sponsored, steroid fuelled, training programs.

1996 - Atlanta

The Atlanta games were wrought with scandal from the onset with allegations that the organizing committee had bribed members of the IOC to obtain the games. However a bigger issue erupted during the games themselves when on July 27th Eric Robert Rudolph planted a knapsack containing three pipe bombs surrounded by nails in the Centennial Olympic Park square during a busy Olympic concert. The bomb was set as part of Rudolphs alleged guerrilla campaign against abortion; the blast killed two and injured over 100 others.

Lone Wolf by Maryanne Vollers

Lone Wolf: Eric Rudolph and the Legacy of American Terror

Maryanne Vollers

In Lone Wolf, Maryanne Vollers brings the reader deep inside one of the most sensational cases of domestic terrorism in American history.

The Great Olympic Swindle by Andrew Jennings

The Great Olympic Swindle

Andrew Jennings

Andrew Jennings, the British journalist who first exposed Olympic corruption exposes the lies and bribes among high ranking Olympic officials and how they use the games to their own benefit.