Book Report: The Olympics’ Most Wanted by Floyd Conner (2001)

Like the Lupica book, I bought this book at Barnes and Noble (Ladue) off of its clearance table for $1.00. I mean, if I don’t burn those points off of the card, the card management company will gladly do so for a certain number of cents every ten days until such time as they have to garnish my wages for the overage. So it’s desperation, coupled with the twin desires of acquiring trivia knowledge and preparing for a historical perspective when the Torino Olympics start, I dove into the book.

It’s a series of top ten lists which include different athletes and incidents within the past Olympics, sliced and diced by topic. Unfortunately, that’s led to some repetition in the records. Also. as I read, I found that the trivia infusion only re-inforced the information I’d experienced. That Zola Budd was responsible for Decker’s loss in some track event in 1984….Man, the number of times I retyped the decade digit indicates how powerful that bit of trivia is, so I better not indicate that I know how South African Zola Budd got to compete anyway, or else I’ll be in jeopardy the next time the North Side Mind Flayers step into a St. Louis Trivia night.

The book’s major flaw is that it repeats anecdotes in different sections as the author tried to leverage limited material into more pages. For example, we read about the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding incident in two chapters. One anecdote focuses on Kerrigan and one on Harding. This retreading of material gives one the idea that the author was indeed stretching to make his limited sources pay off. Hey, as a writer, I can’t knock it, but as a reader, I can sure mock it.

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