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In the 1890s, the nation’s promise of equality had failed spectacularly. While slavery had ended with the Civil War, the Jim Crow laws still separated blacks from whites, and the excesses of the Gilded Age created an elite upper class. When Major Taylor, a young black man, announced he wanted to compete in the nation’s most popular and mostly white man’s sport, cycling, Birdie Munger, a white cyclist who once was the world’s fastest man, declared that he could help turn the young black athlete into a champion.
Twelve years before boxer Jack Johnson and fifty years before baseball player Jackie Robinson, Taylor faced racism at nearly every turn—especially by whites who feared he would disprove their stereotypes of blacks. In The World’s Fastest Man, years in the writing, investigative journalist Michael Kranish reveals new information about Major Taylor based on a rare interview with his daughter and other never-before-uncovered details from Taylor’s life. Kranish shows how Taylor indeed became a world champion, traveled the world, was the toast of Paris, and was one of the most chronicled black men of his day.
From a moment in time just before the arrival of the automobile when bicycles were king, the populace was booming with immigrants, and enormous societal changes were about to take place, “both inspiring and heartbreaking, this is an essential contribution to sports history” (Booklist, starred review). The World’s Fastest Man “restores the memory of one of the first black athletes to overcome the drag of racism and achieve national renown” (The New York Times Book Review).
On the fortieth anniversary of the historic "Miracle on Ice," Mike Eruzione—the captain of the 1980 U.S Men’s Olympic Hockey Team, who scored the winning goal—recounts his amazing career on ice, the legendary upset against the Soviets, and winning the gold medal.
It is the greatest American underdog sports story ever told: how a team of college kids and unsigned amateurs, under the tutelage of legendary coach—and legendary taskmaster—Herb Brooks, beat the elite Soviet hockey team on their way to winning the gold medal at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics. No one believed the scrappy Americans had a real shot at winning. Despite being undefeated, the U.S.—the youngest team in the competition—were facing off against the four-time defending gold medalist Russians. But the Americans’ irrepressible optimism, skill, and fearless attitude helped them outplay the seasoned Soviet team and deliver their iconic win.
As captain, Mike Eruzione led his team on the ice on that Friday, February 22, 1980. But beating the U.S.S.R was only one of the numerous challenges Mike has faced in his life. In this inspiring memoir, he recounts the obstacles he has overcome, from his blue-collar upbringing in Winthrop, Massachusetts, to his battle to make the Boston University squad; his challenges in the minor leagues and international tournaments to his selection to the U.S. team and their run for gold. He also talks about the aftermath of that stupendous win that inspired and united the nation at a time of crisis in its history.
Eruzione has lived a hockey life full of unexpected twists and surprising turns. Al Michaels’ famous call in 1980—"do you believe in miracles? YES!"—could have been about Mike himself. Filled with vivid portraits—from his hard-working, irrepressible father to the irascible Herb Brooks to the Russian hall of famers Tretiak, Kharlamov, Makarov, and Fetisov—this lively, fascinating look back is destined to become a sports classic and is a must for hockey fans, especially those who witnessed that miraculous day.
The past seven years have been hard on Avery Abrams: After training her entire life to make the Olympic gymnastics team, a disastrous performance ended her athletic career for good. Her best friend and teammate, Jasmine, went on to become an Olympic champion, then committed the ultimate betrayal by marrying their emotionally abusive coach, Dimitri.
Now, reeling from a breakup with her football star boyfriend, Avery returns to her Massachusetts hometown, where new coach Ryan asks her to help him train a promising young gymnast with Olympic aspirations. Despite her misgivings and worries about the memories it will evoke, Avery agrees. Back in the gym, she’s surprised to find sparks flying with Ryan. But when a shocking scandal in the gymnastics world breaks, it has shattering effects not only for the sport but also for Avery and her old friend Jasmine.
From award-winning author Willy Vlautin, comes this moving novel about a young ranch hand who goes on a quest to become a champion boxer to prove his worth.
Horace Hopper is a half-Paiute, half-Irish ranch hand who wants to be somebody. He’s spent most of his life on the ranch of his kindly guardians, Mr. and Mrs. Reese, herding sheep alone in the mountains. But while the Reeses treat him like a son, Horace can’t shake the shame he feels from being abandoned by his parents. He decides to leave the only loving home he’s known to prove his worth by training to become a boxer.
Mr. Reese is holding on to a way of life that is no longer sustainable. He’s a seventy-two-year-old rancher with a bad back. He’s not sure how he’ll keep things going without Horace but he knows the boy must find his own way.
Coming down from the mountains of Nevada to the unforgiving desert heat of Tucson, Horace finds a trainer and begins to get fights. His journey to become a champion brings him to boxing rings of Mexico and finally, to the seedy streets of Las Vegas, where Horace learns he can’t change who he is or outrun his destiny.
Willy Vlautin writes from America’s soul, chronicling the lives of those who are downtrodden and forgotten with profound tenderness. Don’t Skip Out on Me is a beautiful, wrenching story about one man’s search for identity and belonging that will make you consider those around you differently.
In the 1928 Olympics, Chicago’s Betty Robinson competes as a member of the first-ever women’s delegation in track and field. Destined for further glory, she returns home feted as America’s Golden Girl until a nearly-fatal airplane crash threatens to end everything.
Outside of Boston, Louise Stokes, one of the few black girls in her town, sees competing as an opportunity to overcome the limitations placed on her. Eager to prove that she has what it takes to be a champion, she risks everything to join the Olympic team.
From Missouri, Helen Stephens, awkward, tomboyish, and poor, is considered an outcast by her schoolmates, but she dreams of escaping the hardships of her farm life through athletic success. Her aspirations appear impossible until a chance encounter changes her life.
These three athletes will join with others to defy society’s expectations of what women can achieve. As tensions bring the United States and Europe closer and closer to the brink of war, Betty, Louise, and Helen must fight for the chance to compete as the fastest women in the world amidst the pomp and pageantry of the Nazi-sponsored 1936 Olympics in Berlin.
Lottie Dod was a truly extraordinary sports figure who blazed trails of glory in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Dod won Wimbledon five times, and did so for the first time in 1887, at the ludicrously young age of fifteen. After she grew bored with competitive tennis, she moved on to and excelled in myriad other sports: she became a leading ice skater and tobogganist, a mountaineer, an endurance bicyclist, a hockey player, a British ladies' golf champion, and an Olympic silver medalist in archery.
In her time, Dod had a huge following, but her years of distinction occurred just before the rise of broadcast media. By the outset of World War I, she was largely a forgotten figure; she died alone and without fanfare in 1960.
Little Wonder brings this remarkable woman's story to life, contextualizing it against a backdrop of rapid social change and tectonic shifts in the status of women in society. Dod was born into a world in which even upper-class women such as herself could not vote, were restricted in owning property, and were assumed to be fragile and delicate.
Women of Lottie Dod's class were expected not to work and to definitely get married. Dod never married and never had children, instead putting heart and soul into training to be the best athlete she could possibly be. Paving the way for the likes of Billie Jean King, Serena Williams, and other top female athletes of today, Dod accepted no limits, no glass ceilings, and always refused to compromise.
In the summer of his seventeenth year, Samuel Sooleymon gets the chance of a lifetime: a trip to the United States with his South Sudanese teammates to play in a showcase basketball tournament. He has never been away from home, nor has he ever been on an airplane. The opportunity to be scouted by dozens of college coaches is a dream come true.
Samuel is an amazing athlete, with speed, quickness, and an astonishing vertical leap. The rest of his game, though, needs work, and the American coaches are less than impressed.
During the tournament, Samuel receives devastating news from home: A civil war is raging across South Sudan, and rebel troops have ransacked his village. His father is dead, his sister is missing, and his mother and two younger brothers are in a refugee camp.
Samuel desperately wants to go home, but it’s just not possible. Partly out of sympathy, the coach of North Carolina Central offers him a scholarship. Samuel moves to Durham, enrolls in classes, joins the team, and prepares to sit out his freshman season. There is plenty of more mature talent and he isn’t immediately needed.
But Samuel has something no other player has: a fierce determination to succeed so he can bring his family to America. He works tirelessly on his game, shooting baskets every morning at dawn by himself in the gym, and soon he’s dominating everyone in practice. With the Central team losing and suffering injury after injury, Sooley, as he is nicknamed, is called off the bench. And the legend begins.
But how far can Sooley take his team? And will success allow him to save his family?
run like a bravey
sleep like a baby
dream like a crazy
replace can’t with maybe
When “Renaissance runner” (New York Times) Alexi Pappas—Olympic athlete, actress, filmmaker, and writer—was four years old, her mother died by suicide, drastically altering the course of Pappas’s life and setting her on a search for female role models. When her father signed his bereaved daughter up for sports teams as a way to keep her busy, female athletes became the first women Pappas looked up to, and her Olympic dream was born. At the same time, Pappas had big creative dreams, too: She wanted to make movies, write, and act. Despite setbacks and hardships, Pappas refused to pick just one lane. She put in a tremendous amount of hard work and wouldn’t let anything stand in her way until she achieved all of her dreams, however unrelated they may seem to outsiders. In a single year, 2016, she made her Olympic debut as a distance runner and wrote, directed, and starred in her first feature film.
But great highs are often accompanied by deep lows; with joy comes sorrow. In Bravey, Pappas fearlessly and honestly shares her battle with post-Olympic depression and describes how she emerged on the other side as a thriving and self-actualized woman. Unflinching, exuberant, and always entertaining, Bravey showcases Pappas’s signature, charming voice as she reflects upon the touchstone moments in her life and the lessons that have powered her career as both an athlete and an artist—foremost among them, how to be brave.
Pappas’s experiences reveal how we can all overcome hardship, befriend pain, celebrate victory, relish the loyalty found in teammates, and claim joy. In short: how every one of us can become a bravey.
By the lake in Beartown is an old ice rink, and in that ice rink Kevin, Amat, Benji, and the rest of the town’s junior ice hockey team are about to compete in the national semi-finals—and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.
Under that heavy burden, the match becomes the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown.
This is a story about a town and a game, but even more about loyalty, commitment, and the responsibilities of friendship; the people we disappoint even though we love them; and the decisions we make every day that come to define us. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.
Running for My Life is not a story about Africa or track and field athletics. It is about outrunning the devil and achieving the impossible faith, diligence, and the desire to give back. It is the American dream come true and a stark reminder that saving one can help to save thousands more.
Lopez Lomong chronicles his inspiring ascent from a barefoot lost boy of the Sudanese Civil War to a Nike sponsored athlete on the US Olympic Team. Though most of us fall somewhere between the catastrophic lows and dizzying highs of Lomong's incredible life, every reader will find in his story the human spark to pursue dreams that might seem unthinkable, even from circumstances that might appear hopeless.
It is 1936 as track star Dietrich Becker trains for the Berlin Olympics. Supported by his wife and an unknown benefactor, Dietrich is hiding a dangerous secret: he is Jewish. But when he unexpectedly loses to the legendary Jesse Owens, a humiliated Dietrich crumbles under overwhelming pressure and makes a decision that changes everything.
Thirty-six years later, Dietrich's son, Adam, assistant head of the 1972 Israeli Olympic team, travels to Munich, where eleven Israeli athletes including one of his friends, fencing coach Levi Frankel, are murdered by Islamic terrorists. Eventually Adam's daughter, Kirsten, is taught to fence by Levi's widow and sets her sights on the 2016 Olympics. When she travels to Rio with the Israeli team just as Nazism is reborn, Kirsten and a French fencer become intrigued by rumors that Hitler fled WWII to South America. After visiting Bariloche, Argentina to investigate, they explore Hitler's house and find the priceless Amber Room. As her journey leads her back to the Olympics, Kirsten soon discovers she is fighting not just to win gold but also for her life.
Not Just a Game is the riveting story of three generations of Olympic athletes as they attempt to survive monumental challenges in the shadow of Hitler and during a rebirth of Nazism.
A story of risk, adventure, and daring as four American bobsledders race for the gold in the most dangerous competition in Olympic history.
In the 1930s, as the world hurtled toward war, speed was all the rage. Bobsledding, the fastest and most thrilling way to travel on land, had become a sensation. Exotic, exciting, and brutally dangerous, it was the must-see event of the 1932 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, the first Winter Games on American soil. Bobsledding required exceptional skill and extraordinary courage--qualities the American team had in abundance.
There was Jay O'Brien, the high-society playboy; Tippy Grey, a scandal-prone Hollywood has-been; Eddie Eagan, world champion heavyweight boxer and Rhodes Scholar; and the charismatic Billy Fiske, the true heart of the team, despite being barely out of his teens. In the thick of the Great Depression, the nation was gripped by the story of these four men, their battle against jealous locals, treacherous U.S. officials, and the very same German athletes they would be fighting against in the war only a few short years later. Billy, king of speed to the end, would go on to become the first American fighter pilot killed in WWII. Evoking the glamour and recklessness of the Jazz Age, Speed Kings will thrill readers to the last page.
The Carson dynasty rules the ski resort town of Mammoth Lakes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. Founded by patriarch Adam, the town is the site of the Mammoth Cup ski race—a qualifier for the Olympics. But when Wylie Welborn, Adam’s illegitimate grandson, returns after a stint in Afghanistan, it reopens a dark moment in Carson family history: the murder of Wylie’s father by his jealous and very pregnant wife, Cynthia. Her son Sky, born while his mother was in prison, and Wylie are half-brothers. They inherit not only superb athletic skills but an enmity that threatens to play out in a lethal drama on one of the fastest and most perilous ski slopes in the world.
Three powerful and unusual women have central roles in this volatile family feud: Cynthia, bent on destroying Wylie; his mother Kathleen, determined to protect him; and April Holly, a beautiful celebrity snowboarder, on track to win Olympic Gold. But, as Wylie falls in love with April and they begin to imagine a life away from the violence that has shattered his family, history threatens to repeat itself and destroy them both.
Combining exquisite writing with breathtaking scenes of high stakes skiing, T. Jefferson Parker's Crazy Blood is an unforgettable story of two brothers on a ruthless quest for supremacy.
No announcer ever proclaimed: "Up Rises Frazier!" "Havlicek commits the foul, trying to steal the ball!" or "The Giants Lose the Pennant, The Giants Lose The Pennant!" Such moments are indelibly etched upon the mind of every sports fan. Or rather, they would be, had they happened. Sports are notoriously games of inches, and when we conjure the thought of certain athletes - like Bill Buckner or Scott Norwood - we can't help but apply a mental tape measure to the highlight reels of our minds. Players, coaches, and of course fans, obsess on the play when they ask, "What if?" Upon Further Review is the first book to answer that question.
Upon Further Review is a book of counterfactual sporting scenarios. In its pages the reader will find expertly reported histories, where one small event is flipped on its head, and the resulting ripples are carefully documented, the likes of...
What if the U.S. Boycotted Hitler's Olympics?
What if Bobby Riggs beat Billie Jean King?
What if Bucky Dent popped out at the foot of the Green Monster?
What if Drew Bledsoe never got hurt?
Upon Further Review takes classic arguments conducted over pints in a pub and places them in the hands of dozens of writers, athletes, and historians. From turning points that every sports fan rues or celebrates, to the forgotten would-be inflection points that defined sports, Upon Further Review answers age old questions, and settles the score, even if the score bounced off the crossbar.
What would you sacrifice for the people you love?
KATE AND ZOE met at nineteen when they both made the cut for the national training program in track cycling—a sport that demands intense focus, blinding exertion, and unwavering commitment. They are built to exploit the barest physical and psychological edge over equally skilled rivals, all of whom are fighting for the last one tenth of a second that separates triumph from despair.
Now at thirty-two, the women are facing their last and biggest race: the 2012 Olympics. Each wants desperately to win gold, and each has more than a medal to lose.
Kate is the more naturally gifted, but the demands of her life have a tendency to slow her down. Her eight-year-old daughter Sophie dreams of the Death Star and of battling alongside the Rebels as evil white blood cells ravage her personal galaxy—she is fighting a recurrence of the leukemia that nearly killed her three years ago. Sophie doesn’t want to stand in the way of her mum’s Olympic dreams, but each day the dark forces of the universe seem to be massing against her.
Devoted and self-sacrificing Kate knows her daughter is fragile, but at the height of her last frenzied months of training, might she be blind to the most terrible prognosis?
Intense, aloof Zoe has always hovered on the periphery of real human companionship, and her compulsive need to win at any cost has more than once threatened her friendship with Kate—and her own sanity. Will she allow her obsession, and the advantage she has over a harried, anguished mother, to sever the bond they have shared for more than a decade?
Echoing the adrenaline-fueled rush of a race around the Velodrome track, Gold is a triumph of superbly paced, heart-in-throat storytelling. With great humanity and glorious prose, Chris Cleave examines the values that lie at the heart of our most intimate relationships, and the choices we make when lives are at stake and everything is on the line.
Born and raised in West Philadelphia, Kareem thought he and his siblings would always be stuck in “The Bottom”, a community and neighborhood devastated by poverty and violence. Riding their bicycles through Philly’s Fairmount Park, Kareem’s brothers discover a barn full of horses. Noticing the brothers’ fascination with her misfit animals, Lezlie Hiner, founder of The Work to Ride stables, offers them their escape: an after school job in exchange for riding lessons.
What starts as an accidental discovery turns into a love for horseback riding that leads the Rossers to discovering their passion for polo. Pursuing the sport with determination and discipline, Kareem earns his place among the typically exclusive players in college, becoming part of the first all-Black national interscholastic polo championship team—all while struggling to keep his family together.
Crossing the Line: A Fearless Team of Brothers and the Sport That Changed Their Lives Forever is the story of bonds of brotherhood, family loyalty, the transformative connection between man and horse, and forging a better future that comes from overcoming impossible odds.
Discover the astonishing, inspirational, and largely unknown true story of the eighteen African American athletes who competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, defying the racism of both Nazi Germany and the Jim Crow South.
Set against the turbulent backdrop of a segregated United States, sixteen black men and two black women are torn between boycotting the Olympic Games in Nazi Germany or participating. If they go, they would represent a country that considered them second-class citizens and would compete amid a strong undercurrent of Aryan superiority that considered them inferior. Yet, if they stayed, would they ever have a chance to prove them wrong on a global stage? To be better than anyone ever expected?
Five athletes, full of discipline and heart, guide readers through this harrowing and inspiring journey. There’s a young and sometimes feisty Tidye Pickett from Chicago, whose lithe speed makes her the first African American woman to compete in the Olympic Games; a quiet Louise Stokes from Malden, Massachusetts, who breaks records across the Northeast with humble beginnings training on railroad tracks. We find Mack Robinson in Pasadena, California, setting an example for his younger brother, Jackie Robinson; and the unlikely competitor Archie Williams, a lanky book-smart teen in Oakland takes home a gold medal. Then there’s Ralph Metcalfe, born in Atlanta and raised in Chicago, who becomes the wise and fierce big brother of the group. Drawing on over five years of research, Draper and Thrasher bring to life a timely story of perseverance and the will to beat unsurmountable odds.
From burning crosses set on the Robinsons’s lawn to a Pennsylvania small town on fire with praise and parades when the athletes return from Berlin, Olympic Pride, American Prejudice is full of emotion, grit, political upheaval, and the American dream. Capturing a powerful and untold chapter of history, the narrative is also a celebration of the courage, commitment, and accomplishments of these talented athletes and their impact on race, sports and inclusion around the world.