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The epic story of the Olympics told like never before

The wicked humour, visual genius and cutting insight of 400 of the world's greatest cartoonists, along with Michael Payne's insider commentary on what was really going on behind the scenes.

There are multiple untold stories, all from a true insider’s perspective and told with a profound sense of fun.

An exceptionally large, and very heavy 500-page coffee table book with over 1,200 cartoons and over 100,000 words, it is a racy and colourful commentary on the world's greatest sporting event.

All profits from the sale of Toon In! will be donated to four worthy sports / cartooning related charities and causes.

Read a selection of unofficial, unauthorised and unsanctioned endorsements

Toon In! by Michael Payne

A selection of unofficial, unauthorised and unsanctioned endorsements, that some of the characters in the book might have said about Toon In!.

"Had I known McDonalds' would try to sponsor the flame, I would have kept it for myself".
Prometheus, Titan God of Fire

"Toon In! has everything for the plot of my next movie; from the threat of nuclear bombs timed to go off in the middle of the Olympic Opening Ceremony; to the world's most audacious computer hack. The full resources of the national security services to ensure that a nation won the right to host a Games, and then go on to win the medal table".
James Bond, 007

"Toon In! does not provide any proof that I hacked the Olympic Computer systems; that I rigged the Olympic voting process; that I ran a dual doping laboratory in Sochi, or any previous Games for that matter".
Vladimir Putin, President of Russia

Read more endorsements

Toon In! by Michael Payne

"You thought ordering 110,000 condoms for the 2018 games was scandalous? This book has stories for you".
Aphrodite, Goddess of Love

"Michael's book is a triumph! It sucks you in and infects you with insider stories and hilarious cartoons".
Zika (official greeter of the Rio Olympics)

"Toon In! reveals for the first time that I was completely misled by my advisors to call for the boycott of the Moscow 1980 Olympic Games and that the US could wrest control of the Olympic Games from the IOC".
Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States

"We are amused!"
Her Majesty the Queen

Professor Muhammad Yunus

Foreword By Nobel Peace Prize Winner, 2006 – Professor Muhammad Yunus

"Sometimes cartoons can deliver more profound insights through a simple sketch than can be done by a whole book.
I can never stop admiring how cartoonists, using the least number of words and casual sweeps of the pen, can shatter mighty myths and reveal hidden truths."

Kofi Annan

"Cartoons make us laugh. Without them, our lives would be much sadder. But they are no laughing matter: They have the power to inform, and also to offend."

Kofi Annan, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Secretary General, United Nations, New York, October 16th , 2006

A Postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

The inspiration for Toon In! was prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak. It was the perfect lockdown project, providing the time to launch a global search for the world’s best Olympic cartoons, and to uncover many untold stories behind the Games.

Although Japan has previously forfeited the right to host the 1940 Winter Olympic Games in Sapporo and the Summer Games in Tokyo, due to the outbreak of its war with China, Tokyo 2020 was the first Olympic Games ever to be postponed.

That is not to say that the IOC has not faced several close calls in recent years – to postpone or even cancel the Olympic Games. To be precise – three times since 2000.

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A Postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

We Support

All profits from sale of Toon In! will be distributed between these four charities.

We Support

Collectors’ Edition

The Collectors’ Edition is a special limited edition of 250 copies, personally signed by the author, Michael Payne.

Also, of special interest, and perhaps of even slightly greater value, is a numbered limited edition litho of the front cover, signed by legendary US Los Angeles Times cartoonist Jim Thompson. The litho depicts some of the greatest and most infamous moments and characters from Olympic history.

The litho has been designed to the highest creative and publishing standards, printed on archival grade Hahnemühle Photo Rag Smooth 308gsm paper, to offer an intense colour and vibrancy and colour fast for generations.

It is a unique package, specifically created so that more funds can be passed on to our four charities / causes.


The 12 Chapters

Just to whet your appetite, here is a short preview of each of the 12 Chapters. Click on the chapter and zoom in on the text of each chapter introduction to get a hint of the untold stories and surprises that lie in wait.

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Look Inside

Toon In! offers a unique insight into the Olympic world. The cartoonists take no prisoners as they wield their razor-sharp quills and hurl their acid wit at the Olympic Games and all things Olympic. Combined with Michael Payne's lifetime involvement with the Olympic Games (Tokyo will be his twentieth) and his work at the IOC, Toon In! is a particularly rare perspective on the real stories behind the headlines. Have a look inside at the diversity of the spreads and a collection of some of the surprising stories.

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Politics and the Cancer of Boycotts

What was the real reason that led to the Soviets boycotting Los Angeles 1984? Was it just a simple tit-for-tat revenge over the US boycott of Moscow 1980? Or was there another agenda? Did California activists, who launched a ‘Ban the Soviets Coalition’, which then placed Russian language billboards along the state’s highways, which explained how to defect to Soviet athletes and officials, scare the Kremlin?

Look Inside

Gender Equity

Tokyo 2020 will see equal participation between men and women. The Ancient Games banned woman competitors (while men had to compete naked). Pierre de Coubertin was completely opposed to the idea of women competing, and reluctantly agreed to permit 22 women (out of a total 997 athletes) to compete in Paris 1900.

Look Inside

Organising the Olympic Games

Twenty thousand international media descending on China, a country not used to, nor welcoming of the tradition of an open media. It was always going to be a bumpy ride and ignite a few fireworks – and by the Opening Ceremony, were those fireworks real or fake?

Look Inside

Games Security

A few months before the London Opening Ceremony, credible reports began to materialise that a nuclear weapon, stolen from the sunken Russian submarine the Kursk, had been planted in London and scheduled to go off during the Opening Ceremonies.

Look Inside

Winning at all costs

The lengths that some cities will go to, to ensure victory, range from phone tapping, the theft of competitors' hard drives, compromising of the CEOs of competitive bids to attempting to hack the IOC's computerised voting systems.

Look Inside

Secret Ceremonies

During rehearsals for one Opening Ceremony – the roof of the main stadium nearly blew off, due to a 'cauldron malfunction'. There are no records, as the country's security forces confiscated the phones of everyone in the stadium for the rehearsals, and wiped their hard drives to remove all evidence.

Look Inside

Rio – the Samba Games

Just how close did the Rio Games come to not happening? Kidnappings of high profile guests before the Opening Ceremony to shooting up of media buses. Also, were the Brazilian authorities ever so slightly 'economical' with the truth over their version of events with the ‘Lochtegate’ affair?

Look Inside

Rio – the Blame Game

Were the Rio organisers so desperate to find a patsy to turn the global media focus from their shortcomings and failures, that an IOC Executive Board member was arrested, locked up in Brazil's most notorious and deadly maximum high security prison – only still to be awaiting trial four years later?

Look Inside

PyeongChang – Playing with Fire

The Opening Ceremony would see one of the world's most sophisticated cyber attacks, nearly closing down the whole Olympic Games. A 'whodunnit' exercise was launched to discover the villains behind the attack, who created false leads, and even attempted to frame an innocent nation.

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Make Your Bids

Then there was the occasion when the IOC President was convinced that he had opened the wrong envelope and announced the wrong host city – even the host city bid representatives were convinced that he had got it wrong.

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A Matter of Life and Death

The leadership decision to recommend the dropping of wrestling from the Games was not understood by anyone - least of all by the IOC membership. It even succeeded in uniting mortal enemies - the USA and Iran.

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The Golden Elixir

'Sex testing' initially known as 'the nude parade', was first introduced at the Olympics in 1966. Several female Soviet and East European athletes immediately retired from international competition.

Look Inside