A London dozen: The book on how to watch it from the wrong side of the road


The book: “How to Watch the Olympics: The Essential Guide to the Rules, Statistics, Heroes and Zeroes of Every Sport”

The author: David Goldblatt and Johnny Acton

The publishing info: Penguin books, $15, 400 pages, paperback

Find it: At Powells or Barnes & Noble

The background: Goldblatt, a sports columnists who reports for BBC Radio and did the book, “The Ball Is Round: A Global History of Soccer,” is London-based, as is Acton, a former journalist at the London Times.

From the intro: “If we’re honest, there’s a gaping hole at the heart of the Olympic experience: Most of us know remarkably little about most of the sports we’ve suddenly gone nuts about. Of course, you could just plonk yourself down on a sofa and keep your eyes open. No harm in any of that, but to get the most out of the Olympics it really helps to know how to watch the proceedings. Which is where this book comes in: a training programme for the Olympics, or, to be precise, a five-point plan of crucial need-to-know information for each sport.”

The five points: Why watch the event? What’s the story behind it? What are the basics? What are the finer points? When did it become an Olympic sport?

Page 82, under “Why watch basketball?” they write: “If you have got tickets and are in two minds about going, call us and we’ll work something out.”

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