Whether it is the last-minute substitution of a baby as a rowing cockswain in the 1900 Paris Olympics, the 72-year-old Olympian who won silver in a shooting competition at the 1920 Antwerp games, or Ethopian Abebe Bikila’s marathon win barefoot at the 1960 Rome Olympics, these now-biennial events always feature memorable moments. Esquire recently gathered these and other "Lesser Known Moments in Olympic History" in an online slide show.
When the 2012 London Summer Olympics launch Friday night, there will be many opportunities in the following 17 days for similar highlights. Yes, we’ll want to see how Michael Phelps adds to his 16 medals, but we may also want to follow Sarah Attar, the 800-meter runner from Saudi Arabia. She is one of two women her country has ever sent to the games.
If you want to do some reading before Friday’s opening ceremony, here are a few suggestions:
The Complete Book of the Olympics, 2012 Ed. by David Wallechinsky
How to Watch the Olympics: The Essential Guide to the Rules, Statistics, Heroes, and Zeroes of Every Sport by David Goldblatt
Off the Deep End: The Probably Insane Idea That I Could Swim My Way Through a Mid-Life Crisis and Qualify for the Olympics by Hodding Carter
Rome: 1960: The Olympics That Changed the World by David Maraniss
A Visitor’s Guide to the Ancient Olympics by Neil Faulkner