when I’m not doing sport, I like to read about sport. That’s just the kinda
total sports geek kool kat I am.
However, I’m not always that keen on reading autobiographies of famous sports people. That’s because I used to really like Lance Armstrong, but then I read Its Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life. It’s hard to imagine a more self-aggrandizing excuse to make money. By page 4 I thought he was a bit of an arrogant dude. By page 6 I was convinced he was a doper (this was before that was confirmed for me by USADA) on the basis that he felt the need in every second sentence to mention that he didn’t use drugs. By page 10 I hated him with a virulent hatred. I kept reading to the bitter end, hoping that he’d redeem himself throughout the course of the book. He didn’t.
Consequently, after that experience, I haven’t read any sports people’s autobiographies for a while. However, I kept seeing advertisements for Chrissie Wellington’s autobiography and, since I didn’t know that much about her anyway, I figured it couldn’t hurt to try it. Specially as it was on special offer on my Kobo. Bargain!
And do you know, it was amazing! I loved it – she’s such an inspiration. I knew that she was the world’s leading Ironman triathlete, and I knew she’d won repeatedly at Kona, but that was really all I knew. As it turns out, she never intended to be an athlete. She’d always been quite sporty, but just in the usual way. She worked for the government for a long time and it wasn’t until she was 30 years old that she even realised that she had such talent. She went pro that same year, giving up her job and training full time. I thought that was FAB – that she hadn’t even realised all that latent talent that was coursing around her for 30 years! That’s cool! I wonder what talent I’ll discover soon …
But seriously, we all have so many excuses these days don’t we … you know, that we’re too old to start something new, or that we haven’t got the time, or that we haven’t the money. I loved reading about Chrissie, who had loads of excuses at her fingertips (her age, she’d have to give up a successful career, that she’d have to move abroad and away from her family etc etc) but nonetheless thought fekkit and just went for it. How inspiring’s that?!
I would really recommend reading it – it’s not only a great autobiography of Chrissie herself, but gives a good insight into the insane world of Ironman. I’ve been fascinated by Ironman since reading Iron War (an account of the epic Ironman race in 1989 when Dave Scott and Mark Allen literally swam, cycled and ran neck-and-neck to the a few metres before the end, which I’ll review one day), so it didn’t tell me anything I didn’t know about the sport itself. It did, however, give me an idea of the mindset of people who do something so tortuous. Great read all round!