Hands up if loved watching the Tokyo Olympics? *Throws both hands up like she’s just landed from the vault* I couldn’t get enough of it and welcomed the distraction from the daily news in Australia about Covid outbreaks and lockdowns.
It’s impossible to pick which moments were the best, from the Aussie swimmers slaying in the pool to watching Jess Fox clinching gold. For me, however, it wasn’t just about the medals, it was learning about the stories behind the athletes’ successes. I loved the interviews with the parents and partners of the athletes — seeing the pride in their faces and hearing the joy in their voices. Then there were incredible backstories about athletes recovering from surgeries, dealing with grief, fighting shame from past performances, and pushing themselves to be the best for another year after the Tokyo games were delayed… all of it was so extraordinary and yes, inspiring.
If you’re like me you probably have an appetite for more stories like that. So, here is a handy round-up of some great sporting books that share all the guts and glory of the professional sporting life.
Calling them ‘tough nuts’ seems to be an understatement! This book features Aussie sports men and women who have gone to the absolute extreme for their sports e.g. Anna Meares, Dean Jones, Alisa Camplin.
You can purchase Australia’s Toughest Sports People from Booktopia.*
Simone Biles has not only shown that she is the GOAT of gymnastics but also shown us how it looks to put your mental health first. We won’t forget seeing her bravely opt out of competing in the team event at the Tokyo Olympics so that her fellow gymnasts could compete for a medal. This book details her climb to the top.
You can purchase Courage To Soar from Booktopia.*
This book doesn’t need a summary by me with the blurb opening like this: “This is a story of Jelena Dokic’s survival. How she survived as a refugee, twice. How she survived on the tennis court to become world No. 4. But, most importantly, how she survived her father, Damir Dokic, the tennis dad from hell.”
You can purchase Unbreakable from Booktopia.*
Want to read the ultimate story about a small kid playing in his backyard who went on to become the greatest player in his sport? Then you need this book written by the NRL legend himself. It details everything from victories, losses, scandals and even the love that carried him through from his wife, Samantha.
You can purchase Johnathan Thurston: The Autobiography from Booktopia.*
In this tell-all Lauren reveals the highs and lows of becoming one of Australia’s best female basketballers. She shares stories from the court, and personal struggles with fame and anxiety. It covers her time playing in America, Russia, Spain, Korea and China.
You can purchase My Story: A Life In Basketball And Beyond from Booktopia.*
This book was released in 2011 so well before that infamous shark attack of 2015. Nonetheless, it gives a detailed story of how Mick Fanning worked hard to become an Aussie surfing legend, from his struggle with scoliosis to rubbing shoulders with other sporting legends, and even a little mischief!
You can purchase Surf For Your Life from Booktopia.*
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