At Skylight: Michael Waters presents THE OTHER OLYMPIANS w/ Jonathan Parks-Ramage

At Skylight: Michael Waters presents THE OTHER OLYMPIANS w/ Jonathan Parks-Ramage

Join us for the story of the early trans athletes and Olympic bureaucrats who lit the flame for today’s culture wars.

In December 1935, Zdeněk 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.

Michael Waters has written for The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times, WIRED, Slate, Vox, and elsewhere. He was the 2021-22 New York Public Library Martin Duberman Visiting Scholar in LGBTQ studies and lives in Brooklyn.

Jonathan Parks-Ramage is a Los Angeles based writer. His critically acclaimed debut novel YES, DADDY (HarperCollins) was named one of the best queer books of 2021 by Entertainment Weekly, NBC News, The Advocate, Lambda Literary, Bustle, Goodreads and more. YES, DADDY was also optioned for television by Amazon Studios. His second novel, IT'S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD (Norton), will be released in the summer of 2025.

His writing has been widely published in such outlets as VICE, Slate, OUT Magazine, W Magazine, Electric Literature, Atlas Obscura, Literary Hub, Elle and Medium. He is also an alumnus of the 2018 and 2019 Bread Loaf Writers' Conferences. 

Event date: 
Monday, June 24, 2024 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
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The Other Olympians: Fascism, Queerness, and the Making of Modern Sports By Michael Waters Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374609818
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - June 4th, 2024