With all this talk about Olympic this and London 2012 that, Wimbledon shock knock outs and Euro Football, I am feeling quite tired. So what better way to relax than to catch up on a few sporting heroes, kick back with some marathon runners and take a dive with our Olympic hopeful. Here are some of the best sporting books out right now if you cannot get enough of the stuff.
Rafa: My Story by Rafael Nadal and John Carlin
He may not be competing in Wimbledon any longer, having been spectacularly knocked out by the powerhouse that is Lukas Rosol, but Nadal still has a story to tell. This is the Sunday Times bestselling autobiography from one of the greatest tennis players of his generation. His tennis score is now closing in on his old friend and rival Roger Federer’s record haul of 16 grand slam victories, and Nadal is an extraordinary competitor whose ferocity on court is made even more remarkable by his grace off it. This book takes us to the heart of Nadal’s childhood, his growth as a player, and his incredible career. It includes memorable highs and lows, from victory in the 2008 Wimbledon final – a match that John McEnroe called the ‘greatest game of tennis ever played’ – to the injury problems that have frequently threatened his dominance of the sport, to becoming the youngest player of the open era to complete a career Grand Slam in 2010. If you love tennis you’ll appreciate the story of Nadal.
My Story by Tom Daley
Think Tom Daley is too young to write an autobiography well think again. This gold medal winner is one of Britain’s brightest hopes for an Olympic gold when he enters the London 2012 games later on this month. Few know about the heart breaking story of this young athlete who had to cope with the death of his father whilst under the glare of the world’s media spotlight. In this, Tom’s first official memoir, he offers unprecedented access to the pressures, challenges and fascinating experiences of a world-class Olympian. From his day-to-day schedule, to his hobbies and family life, to sharing his hopes and dreams in the build up to the London Olympics, this book offers a unique chance to get close to Tom. Featuring exclusive photography, both personal and newly commissioned, this will be the ultimate book for the 2012 Olympics.
The Complete Book of the Olympics by David Wallechinsky & Jaime Loucky
Love everything Olympic based? Then this is the book for you. With the infamous Usain Bolt appearing on the front, this book is a fantastic point of reference for sports enthusiasts and journalists alike, and as importantly is the essential guide to the London games. At 1300 large-format, closely typeset pages, the tome is a prodigious and compendious work of reference. But it is also an amazingly readable book, for in the course of recording every single modern Olympic final at every single Games, it reveals the strange, the memorable, and the frankly unbelievable. Who knew that croquet or tug of war were once Olympic sports, or that a 72-year-old once won a silver medal for target shooting?
Tuffers’ Cricket Tales by Phil Tufnell
Everyone loves Tuffers don’t they? From his weekly appearances on A Question of Sport, to the glamourous be-sequined Phil we saw on Strictly Come Dancing, Phil has become a national treasure of sorts. His latest book is a deliciously eccentric collection of the great man’s favourite cricket stories that will amuse and inform in equal measure. Tufnell’s unmistakably distinctive voice, as heard to such good effect on “Test Match Special”, steers fans through dozens and dozens of terrifically entertaining and insightful anecdotes, garnered from his 25-year playing and broadcasting career. He introduces a cast of genuinely colourful characters found in dressing-rooms and commentary boxes from around the world, and in the process offers a uniquely warm and quirky homage to his sport.
Running with the Kenyans by Adharanand Finn
Ever wondered why Kenyan athletes win the world’s biggest races, from the Olympics to big city marathons? So did ‘Runner’s World’ contributor Adharanand Finn and to find out he packed up his family and moved from Devon to the small town of Iten, in Kenya, which is home to hundreds of the country’s best athletes. Once there he laced up his shoes and ventured out onto the dirt tracks, running side by side with Olympic champions, young hopefuls and barefoot schoolchildren. He ate their food, slept in their training camps, interviewed their coaches, and his children went to their schools. And at the end of it all, there was his dream, to join the best of the Kenyan athletes in his first marathon, an epic race through lion country across the Kenyan plains.To find out how he did you’ll have to read the book!