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The Other Olympians

The Other Olympians

Author Michael Waters
Publisher Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Publication Date 2024-06-04
Section New Hardcover - Nonfiction / Gender Studies / Gay & Lesbian
Type New
Format
ISBN 9780374609818

The story of the early trans athletes and Olympic bureaucrats who lit the flame for today’s culture wars. In December 1935, Zden?k Koubek, one of the most famous sprinters in European women’s sports, declared he was now living as a man. Around the same time, the celebrated British field athlete Mark Weston, also assigned female at birth, announced that he, too, was a man. Periodicals and radio programs across the world carried the news; both became global celebrities. A few decades later, they were all but forgotten. And in the wake of their transitions, what could have been a push toward equality became instead, through a confluence of bureaucracy, war, and sheer happenstance, the exact opposite: the now all-too-familiar panic around trans, intersex, and gender nonconforming athletes. In The Other Olympians, Michael Waters uncovers, for the first time, the gripping true stories of Koubek, Weston, and other pioneering trans and intersex athletes from their era. With dogged research and cinematic flair, Waters also tracks how International Olympic Committee members ignored Nazi Germany’s atrocities in order to pull off the Berlin Games, a partnership that ultimately influenced the IOC’s nearly century-long obsession with surveilling and cataloging gender. Immersive and revelatory, The Other Olympians is a groundbreaking, hidden-in-the-archives marvel, an inspiring call for equality, and an essential contribution toward understanding the contemporary culture wars over gender in sports.

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