The Book of the Week is “The Secret Olympian” by Anon, published in 2012. This ebook is about Olympic athletes (who were interviewed by the author) and the issues they face before, during and after the Olympics.
Most nation’s teams travel to the metropolitan area of the Olympic games locale two or more weeks prior to the actual competition. Of course, the better funded teams use the latest technology in adjusting to the local conditions. For instance, if the venue is at a higher altitude than what the athletes are used to, they sleep in “hypoxic altitude tents” if they don’t find them too noisy. Other high-tech devices are used to test the athletes’ physiology more than once a day– “…oxygen utilisation, lactate generation, statistics about lung capacity… at different cycling and running speeds…” Blood is drawn from the ear to be tested; a rectal thermometer tests core temperature.
In 1968 in Mexico City, Olympians saw various “firsts” in addition to high altitude that they hadn’t previously encountered. Gender and low-level drug testing were initiated. Mexico was the first developing, and Spanish-speaking nation, to host the Olympics. At those games, East and West Germany competed separately.
The author relates how extremely rare gold medallists are. In Great Britain, athletes who have won gold medals number about 300 out of a population of approximately 60 million; .000005 or 1 in 200,000 people.
Read the book to learn about various athletes’ experiences in training, competing, clothing-exchanging, doping, partying, retirement and much more.