A survey of ""the most spectacular sporting event in the world"" from the 1896 Athens Olympiad through a preview of next year's Winter and Summer Games at Innsbruck and Montreal respectively. Libby glosses over the increasingly political climate of the quadrennial competition and fails to mention the current NCAA-AAU feud hindering our national team. Still, he does manage to vividly reconstruct some of the individual highlights of the past--Jim Thorpe's pentathlon and decathlon feats in Stockholm in 1912; Babe Didrickson's track and field triumphs of 1932; Jesse Owens' four gold medals in Berlin in 1936; Al Oerter's four consecutive wins in the discus throw between 1956-68; ""superswimmers"" Schollander and Spitz stockpiling their own Fort Knox; and Peggy Fleming's dazzling figure skating. Readers will learn that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a track official at the 1908 London Olympics . . . Benjamin Spock was a member of Yale's victorious eight-man crew in 1924 . . . and that, besides Johnny Weissmuller, other Olympic medalists turned actor include Bruce Bennett and Buster Crabbe. Brisk and informative.