In honour of the Rio Olympics: A round up of great sport books


As this blog amply demonstrates, I’m more of a sit-still-with-a-book person than someone who’s really into sports.  Once every four years though, I do get into the fun of watching others break records, push their bodies to the limit and generally be amazing and inspiring.  In honour of the event that will absorb me for the next sixteen days, here’s a list of top books for linking literature with Olympic sports.












Equestrian.  Warning: features cruelty to horses

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Really couldn’t pick for this one – both these wonderful books feature rowing.






For one of the most memorable swims in literature.


Wishing everyone a happy sporting summer!

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17 Responses to In honour of the Rio Olympics: A round up of great sport books

  1. Aviva says:

    Haha – love it. Ps you could do a whole Jerome K Jerome thing here – ‘Three Men in a Boat’! X

  2. Jessica says:

    I would like to add The Art of Fielding as a great book (loosely) about Baseball!

  3. roughghosts says:

    I’ll toss in a plug for Netherland by Joseph O’Neill. It features cricket, in a most unlikely way, but I learned a lot about the sport from this novel.

  4. BookerTalk says:

    How about The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (for the marathon race)

  5. Ste J says:

    I will always remember the getting a bike onto the train bit in Three Men on the Bummel, that man was a genius for comedy. When you do your in honour of Harry Potter post, you could mention the getting lost in a maze bit from Three Men in a Boat as a nice juxtaposition to the end of Goblet of Fire.

  6. Fabulous, loving watching the games and reading, seeing them on French coverage is interesting, especially as it focuses on many sports I wasn’t familiar with, the fencing has been particuarly exciting, I had to find out the difference between épée (sword), sabre and foil as they all look the same on the TV, and obviously they don’t use the original medieval weapons – I learned its all about the weight and length of the blade and where they are allowed to touch the opponent differs with each style.

    And so for reading, I’d add Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin, with its poignant fencing duel!

    • Of course! Actually, I had been tempted to include a Georgette Heyer for fencing/shooting because of the duels in her romances, but of course it’s definitely not just a feature of English period lit.

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