The Other Olympians 

Fascism, Queerness, and the Making of Modern Sports

by Michael Waters (me!)

Forthcoming June 4, 2024

Pre-order it today: 


The Center for Fiction (or your local indie bookstore!)

Barnes and Noble


Macmillan website 

In the meantime, add it on Goodreads!

In December 1935, Zdeněk Koubek, one of the most famous athletes in women's track-and-field sports, announced that he was going to be living as a man. 

The story caused an instant sensation, and Koubek became a global celebrity. For a brief moment, he seemed to be ushering in a new paradigm for sports. Readers flooded popular magazines with letters asking how a gender transition was possible; doctors wrote op-eds urging the public to accept him; queer Americans wondered how they, too, could follow a similar path. 

That might have stayed true if it were not for a small cadre of sports officials at the International Olympic Committee, who in early 1936 raised the alarm over athletes like Koubek. Unbeknownst to the public, they began devising a system of “sex testing” techniques that, they hoped, would keep trans and intersex athletes out of professional sports forever. 

To unveil their plan, they chose a controversial venue: the Berlin Olympics, set to be hosted in Nazi Germany that summer. 

Weaving together Koubek's story alongside the institutional rise of the IOC, The Other Olympians: Fascism, Queerness, and the Making of Modern Sports uncovers the history of one of the most important forgotten athletes of the 20th century.

illustrated by Willie Quiroz

Using Format