In Athens in 1896, a small group of fewer than 250 athletes competed in the fi rst iteration of the modern Olympic Games. What started as relatively small-scale competition has since evolved into the biggest sporting event in the world, drawing tens of thousands of competitors from hundreds of nations together every four years, with the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro promising to be the most spectacular yet. The Olympics are where the world’s elite athletes compete at the very highest level, setting records and pushing the limits of the human body for the chance to claim the greatest accolade of all – an Olympic gold medal. In this book, we celebrate the greatest Olympians in every discipline, from athletics and aquatics to cycling, gymnastics, ball sports and more. Inside you’ll fi nd recordbreaking achievements from throughout the history of the games, incredible stats and fi gures on the most dominant athletes of all time, and the amazing stories behind some of the most inspirational Olympic performances ever.