With Team GB finally storming the medal table, the British public are seeing gold- and what better time to pick up an Olympic read from our selection of the best sporting autobiographies past and present. Usain Bolt picks up the award for charisma on the screen, but who shines on the page?
Sir Steve Redgrave- A Golden Age
A golden age for Redgrave indeed. Between 1984-2000 Redgrave won five consecutive gold medals at the Olympics and is the only competitor to ever have done so in an endurance sport, an achievement which has caused many to hail him Britain’s greatest Olympian of all time. A Golden Age recounts Redgrave’s outstanding sporting career, from his first moment in a boat as a 13-year-old schoolboy to his rowing partnership with Matthew Pinsent and the pressures and conflicts that threaten a team. Most of all though Redgrave exlpores the will to succeed and is inspirational in doing so.
A Golden Age is available now from BBC Books.
Kelly Holmes- Black, White & Gold
No not that once-loved Sam Sparro classic but the Dame’s own autobiography discussing her history of British and world records and those races in Athens which made her a double-gold world champ and propelled her to immortal Athletic fame. Also some things you didn’t know about Holmes: her life in the army, the scarring of a self-harmed past and her inspiration, Seb Coe.
Black, White & Gold is available now from Virgin Books.
Tom Daley- My Story
So the Men’s Synchronised Diving Final didn’t go too well. And the aftermath on Twitter was even worse. But My Story, released just in time for London 2012, is the story of a young boy with the hope of a nation on his shoulders, and how he struggles to cope with Olympic pressure and the glare of the world’s media spotlight without his coach and father by his side. There’s still another round to go and this is a must read. Go on Daley!
My Story is available now from Penguin.
Bradley Wiggins- In Pursuit Of Glory
Wiggo may have the attitude of a too-cool member of some Northern indie rock band but by golly is he quick. Nicknamed Le Gentlemen by the Tour de France’s enthusiastic crowds, Wiggo went from being the first Englishmen ever to win the Tour, to snatching Gold in the Olympic time trials and adding to his already impressive collection of glittering golds. Wiggo is officially the most be-medalled British athlete of all time and just wait for it- he might even crack a smile.
In Pursuit of Glory is available now from Orion.
Michael Phelps- No Limits: The Will To Succeed
Yet another podium Phelps is at the top of. But how could he not be? This Olympics has officially crowned Phelps as the best Olympian ever. The flying fish, as he once told me he preferred to be called, now owns 22 Olympic medals. Yes it looked like he’d lost it at the start of the games, yes he looks more like a Camden rude-boy coming pool-side with those huge headphones on and his hood up, but oh my, he smashed it. 22 medals. Enough said.
No Limits is available now from Pocket Books.
Words: Lucy Holden