Everything you wanted to know about the Olympics


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BEIJING -- For years, Bill Mallon’s incomparable efforts as an Olympic historian were known, almost sub rosa, to those of us who concentrate on covering the Olympic Games.

Every time I needed a question answered, I would be on the phone or dashing off an email to Bill in North Carolina, where he is an orthopedic surgeon.


Mallon, who spent four years on the PGA Tour, began writing Olympic histories when he was 12 years old. Over the next 40 years, with the assistance of colleagues like the late Erich Kamper of Austria, he created exhaustive reference works of Olympic facts, including lists of medalists, national Olympic histories, sports histories and more.

On two previous occasions, Mallon’s work became available to the public -- in a 1993 volume called the ‘Golden Book of the Olympics’’ and a 1995 CD called ‘Olympic Gold.’’

Neither, sadly, gained the sales traction they deserved, but that did not discourage Mallon. He kept updating and refining his Olympic record books (and, thankfully, sent me a CD of every new version), eventually combining with Jeroen Heijmans of the Netherlands and Arild Gjerde of Norway to create an Olympic database that had been available mainly to insiders.

Not any longer. As the 2008 Summer Games approach, everyone has access to the indispensable work of a fanatical trio known as the OlyMADmen, who updated, checked and collated a collective 120 years of work by many Olympic historians. has bought the rights to this work and put it on the web.

What will you find there?

*Not only a bio page on every medalist but also a page on every one of the some 110,000 athletes known to have competed in a Summer or Winter Games.


*Summaries of each sport, each country, each country by sport and each country by event.

*Details of performances, such as Jesse Owens’ time (10.3) in the 12th heat of the first round of the 100 meters at the 1936 Olympics.

And much, much more.

So, as you read the extensive Olympic coverage in this newspaper, you can use this Web site and the wealth of anecdotal information found in David Wallechinsky’s, ‘The Complete Book of the Olympics’’ (revised for every Summer and Winter Games; the 2008 edition is on sale) to answer questions that arise.

Olympic Games junkies never had it so good.

-- Philip Hersh