This is the first complete history of the Games' most storied race. From ancient Greece to Atlanta 1996, the book chronicles the race's development-the heroes, the controversies, and the stories that emerged from the ultimate Olympic challenge. For the first time, the complete history of the most famous race in the Olympic Games has been presented in Olympic Marathon-A Centennial History of the Games' Most Storied Race. Beginning with the legends of ancient Greece, this book traces the process of reviving the Olympic movement, including the establishment of the marathon-the only event specifically created for the 1896 Olympics. Following heroes such as Dorando Pietri, Emil Zatopek, Abebe Bikila, and Frank Shorter, the book includes a complete analysis of every Olympic marathon as well as tales from the lives of the runners. The stories of John Hayes, who won the race with the help of strychnine; 1936 winner Sohn Kee Chung, a South Korean forced to compete for Japan; and Mamo Wolde, who won the marathon with an infected toe only to end up as a political prisoner in Ethiopia, make this book much more than a sports history. The story of the long struggle to establish a women's marathon begins with a lonely female who ran the marathon course in 1896 and ends with the dramatic victory of American Joan Benoit in the first women's Olympic marathon in 1984. Completely up to date, the book concludes with chapters on the races in Atlanta in 1996, including the closest finish in Olympic marathon history. An appendix, photographs, and an index complete this history. An invaluable resource for all interested in the Olympics and marathon running.