Where Spivey cleans away the myths of the Olympics, Phil Cousineau seeks to restore them. In The Olympic Odyssey: Rekindling the True Spirit of the Great Games, Cousineau convincingly argues that sport is more than just amusement or exercise, but a transcendent act of body, mind and spirit that lifts participant and spectator alike in ways both more lasting and profound than the simple running of a race or throwing of a ball. In the vein of Joseph Campbell (The Faces of Myth), Cousineau calls on us to treat the Olympics not only as an opportunity for entertainment and global competition, but as a grand mythic ritual of the human spirit. His book is thought-provoking, challenging and inspiring, with just enough philosophy to make one ponder the meaning of the modern games, and lift their viewing to more than just a night in front of the TV.
Howard Shirley is a writer in Nashville.