Kirkus Reviews QR Code
AFTER OLYMPIC GLORY: The Lives of Ten Outstanding Medalists by Larry Bortstein

AFTER OLYMPIC GLORY: The Lives of Ten Outstanding Medalists


Pub Date: June 1st, 1978
Publisher: Warne

Old, young; male, female, black, white; boxer, runner: the only feature common to the ten Americans profiled here is their status as Olympic medalists. Bortstein, however, follows a similar outline for each sketch, pointing up the athletic achievement and summarizing the medalist's life from birth to post-Olympic years. As for how they've all ended up, figure skater Tenley Albright is a doctor, as is another winner better known for his medical career than his crewing for Yale in 1924--Benjamin Spock. Bob Mathias spent several terms in Congress and Bill Bradley, seen here before taking up politics, has much to say about commercialism and how the Olympics should be run. Most of the medalists have remained in sports, as coaches, promoters, broadcasters, etc. Jesse Owens, the oldest except for Dr. Spock, tells how hard it was in the Thirties for a black man to get any kind of a job, and Muhammad Ali (billed here as ""probably the most famous"" person in the world) threw his prized medal in the river after a racial incident which made him realize that it hadn't brought him respect. But track medalist Nell Jackson, now women's athletic director at Michigan State, doesn't feel that being black has ever helped or hindered her career. Bortstein's handling of them all is uninspired and his subjects probably too diverse for much cover-to-cover interest; variously selected, however, they will no doubt serve a number of functions.