7 podcasts about the history of the Olympics: from the Ancient Games to the modern-day scandals

Sports February 2, 2022

Well, that came on fast. With the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics starting up on February 4th, not even six months after the Summer Olympics wrapped up, we are right back in the Olympic spirit. So we have gathered up some podcasts and podcast episodes to hear all about the history of the Olympics – both the Ancient and modern Games.

We have all sorts of podcasts about Olympic history: the creation of the Games in Greece, the fight for the first American-held Games, and the Summer Games that changed basketball and women’s sports. Also, some good old scandal, because when it comes to global events, we need global controversy.

Check out these fascinating Olympic history podcasts below:

You’re Dead To Me

Listen to ‘The Ancient Olympics’

The BBC classic podcast “You’re Dead To Me” loves the wackiest parts of history, and the ancient, original Olympics are no exception. Host Greg Jenner and his guests Professor Michael Scott and comedian Shaparak Khorsandi are here to talk about it. Hear about the extraordinary lengths men went to to prevent women from even watching the action, the grueling and bloody games that were tradition, and how you could win even if you died mid-Games.

Stuff You Missed In History Class

Listen to ‘SYMHC Classics: The Nazi Games and Jesse Owens’

We are going way back (in both history and the RSS feed) with “Stuff You Missed in History Class” to the 1936 Olympics. An episode from 2012, this 30-minute episode is about the Berlin Olympics held in Nazi Germany and Jesse Owens’ historic performance in the face of white-nationalism. Hear about one of the strangest Olympics in which the Olympic torch was introduced and more countries than ever participated. After, it would be 12 years before the Games were played again.

Summer of Gold

Summer of Gold

Listen to ‘Summer of Gold’

Summer of Gold” is a documentary series looking back on the Olympic Games that would change the trajectory of the Games forever. During the summer of 1996, the Atlanta Summer Games altered the course of women’s sports. The podcast speaks with icons like Sue Bird, Sheryl Swoopes, Shannon Miller, and more women who were either at the Games or witnessed them. It’s just six, 30-minute episodes about the most pivotal movement in women’s sports around the world.

Blind Landing

Listen to ‘Blind Landing’

We know that we’re heading into the Winter Olympics, but the women’s gymnastics teams of the Summer Olympics always have a special place in our hearts. “Blind Landing” is a podcast series by Ari Saperstein that looks at what happened during the women’s gymnastics All-Around portion of Sydney Australia’s 2000 Summer Olympics. During the competition, an unprecedented series of disasters unfolded. One after another, gymnasts experienced frightening falls. It turns out, the Olympic officials made a serious mistake, threatening the safety of competitors that day. It’s seven, 25-minute episodes about one of the Olympics biggest scandals.

The Dream Team Tapes

Listen to ‘The Dream Team Tapes’

The Dream Team Tapes” follows the greatest team in basketball history: the 1992 U.S. Men’s Basketball Team. In this podcast, you’ll hear from the players themselves about the Barcelona games: Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, and more. Filled with amazing stories, personal memories, and surprising secrets from the Dream Team, this podcast is a joyous romp not unlike the one that was experienced in ’92.

Also on the same RSS feed is the second season, “The Redeem Team Tapes,” which chronicles the Olympic journey of the 2008 U.S. Men’s Basketball Team.

Conspiracy Theories

Listen to ‘Olympics: The Salt Lake City Buyout’

From Parcast Network, “Conspiracy Theories” covers the world’s most controversial events and potential cover-ups, and obviously, we’ve had some Olympic-sized scandals. This episode, “Olympics: The Salt Lake City Buyout,” is looking into the conspiracy around Salt Lake City’s bid to host the Olympics after the massive revenue Los Angeles saw in 1984. They lost their bid in 1991 but pulled out all the stops to seal the deal on the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

Also, “Conspiracy Theories” released an episode right after this one is about the Russian doping scandal at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

American History Tellers

Listen to ‘The Fight For the First Olympics’

With a growing interest in fitness and physical education and a fascination with Ancient Greece, Europe decided to host the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. French nobleman Pierre de Coubertin led the way, and after the initial success of the Olympic Games, he wanted America in on the action. This was going to start a civil competition about just who would host the Games first. St. Louis and Chicago were pit against each other for the honor, resulting in civic grudges and political backstabbing between the two. Hear all four episodes about the fight for the first Olympics in “American History Tellers.”

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