On your marks, London 2012…

You might just have noticed that the Olympics are coming to London this year and it’s just around the corner! The city is about to be packed to the brim with excited sports fans, super fit athletes and gleaming new venues. After years of preparation and mounting excitement, everyone is now (hopefully!) ready for the party of a lifetime. With that in mind we’ve picked a great collection of books to get readers into the sporting spirit – Go Team GB!   
The 1908 Olympics 
By Keith Baker
Sportsbooks, 9781899807611, p/b, £7.99
London is the first ever city to host the Olympics three times and these two fascinating gems from Sportbooks show just how far we’ve come since the UK previously hosted games in 1908 and 1948. The first games took place in London when the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1906 stopped them going to Rome, as funds for building Olympic facilities were diverted to Naples to help rebuild the city. Author Keith Baker digs out some juicy Olympic scandals and also highlights the lives of some of the great competitors and personalities who made the event unique. 
The 1948 Olympics
By Bob Phillips
Sportsbooks, 9781899807543, h/b, £16.99
The 1948 Olympics became known as the “austerity games”. Britain was still suffering the after effects of the war: rationing was still in operation, and instead of being luxuriously chauffeured through special lanes athletes were dodging bomb sites to get to their venues! Yet London took on the Games and staged them successfully. For the amateur athletes who competed in those games, today’s multi-billion pound extravaganza is a world away from their own experiences.  
The John Carlos Story
By John Carlos & Dave Zirin
Haymarket, 9781608461271, h/b, £16.99 
The amazing and controversial account of an athlete who stood up for what he believed in. In the 1968 games, John Carlos and Tommie Smith defiantly made history when they gave the Black Power salute at the medal ceremony and produced one of the most iconic images in Olympic history. This tells John Carlos’ remarkable story in his own words, finally introducing readers to the man behind the salute.
Visions of Sport
By Getty Images
Vision Sports Publishing, 9781907637346, h/b, £16.99
With all the excitement of the Olympics and discussions about money and legacy dominating the headlines, it’s important to remember that on the day it’s all about the athletes. Visions of Sport is a collection of the greatest sporting photographs ever taken.  Put together by Getty Images from their massive archive of iconic moments in sport, anyone with even a passing interest would be wowed by the sight of Team GB cruising to victory in the Beijing Velodrome or Muhammad Ali laying into his opponent.  There’s no doubt that 2012 will produce many more memorable moments to go down in sports history.
Olympic Almanack 2012
By Stan Greenberg
Sportsbooks, 9781907524226, p/b, £12.99

Ever been in an argument over who won what in Olympics gone by? This should settle the score. The latest Olympic Almanack is the most comprehensive and up-to-date record of Olympic achievements available anywhere. The leading Olympic statistical book, it contains an extensive and entertaining collection of facts and figures from Athens 1896 to Beijing 2008, plus the ancient Games at Olympia and the even the Winter Olympics. Statistician Stan Greenburg was in London for the 1948 games and he’s now looking forward to the 2012 games immensely – and his prediction for the GB athletics team? A whopping 16 medals!

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