11 Books That Inspired Olympic Gold by Andrew Cattanach

by |July 27, 2012

Gold, Gold, Gold!

If that famous phrase has you bleeding from the ears, you’re probably not alone. But before you run to your Olympic proof, Penguin Classics lined bunker, I would like to point out the incredible parallels to be drawn between the world of literature of the Olympic Games.

Just in time for the glory, the majesty and the spandex of the coming weeks here are 11 interesting facts and stories that may or may not be true (Disclaimer: they’re not true) about the athletes and the wonderful books that share their golden destinies.

1. The Prince

Prince Abdullah Al Saud, The Prince of Saudi Arabia will be competing in the show jumping in London 2012.

Al Saud counts Machiavelli as one of his biggest influences Evidence of this can be found in his famous my-dad-says-I-can-go performance at trials which earned him Olympic selection.


2. Wuthering Heights

The area of which pole vaulters know that they’re not going to make it.

Steve Hooker has felt this more often than not in the last 18 months and has turned to Emily Bronte for advice. She is yet to write back.


3. Twelve Angry Men

The nickname for The British soccer team, headed by the angriest man in the universe, coach Stuart Pearce.

If the British team loses the book will be re-released in the UK as Sixty-Two and a Half Million Angry Britons.


4. The Grapes of Wrath

The term for when, at the closing ceremony after party, a losing athlete congratulates their victorious peer by striking them on back of the head with a bottle of Shiraz.


5. The Time Machine

A device Ian Thorpe wished he had invented during the Olympic Trials.


6. Walking Home

The threat of most coaches in the Olympic village if their charger doesn’t give 110%.

Also the punishment if said athlete advises that 110% is mathematically impossible.


7. The Monk

The Matthew Lewis classic – a classic and controversial tale of the weakness of the human condition.

Not to be confused with the swimmer Kenrick Monk, who fell off a skateboard and told the police he had been hit by a car. And then posted a photo on facebook of himself holding two guns exemplifying the weakness of the human condition.


8. Moby Dick

A little known fact is that if a sailor finds the infamous White Whale while competing, the race is abandoned and they are declared the winners.

Captain Ahab never got his Gold Medal.


9. My Country

The hope of Kazakhstani athletes is that if they win Gold the Olympic officials will play their country’s national anthem and not Borat’s.


10. One Man Zeitgeist

Not the story of footballer and Olympic spokesperson, David Beckham, who could smash an egg on his head and have 7 billion people doing it the next morning.


11. The Odyssey

A young writer spends his Friday afternoon thinking of humorous allusions to the Olympics using the titles of famous books in the Booktopia catalogue.



By Andrew Cattanach


Follow Andrew on twitter at @andrew__cat

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About the Contributor

Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.

Follow Andrew: Twitter


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