The Best Sports Books to Buy This Christmas
Now is the time to start stocking up on great reads for the holiday season. We've compiled our ultimate selection of this year's best sports books. We hope you enjoy them!
Butterfly: From Refugee to Olympian - My Story of Rescue, Hope and Triumph by Yusra Mardini
Refugees are simply ordinary people who had the misfortune of not being able to stay in their own country. That's one of the messages of this incredible tale of bravery. Aged only 17, Yusra and her sister, Sara left their family and fled Syria by boat. As experienced swimmers they helped rescue a boatload of people from drowning in a faulty lifeboat, taking turns to lessen the load by treading water. After continuing their traumatic journey across Europe, they finally reached Berlin after many months. Since then Yusra has continued her passion for swimming for the Refugee Olympic Team in the 2016 Rio Olympics whilst also becoming a UN Goodwill ambassador. Yusra's tale is moving because of her bravery at such a young age and for highlighting the unfair reception many refugees receive through absolutely no fault of their own.
How Champions Think: In Sports and in Life by Dr Bob Rotella
What differentiates champions from the rest of us is a combination of optimism and confidence. Together these attributes give you the persistence to continue striving - while others would give up - and eventually leads to success. However Dr Rotella urges that what's important is to focus relentlessly on the process you've devised to win - rather than the results themselves. Interestingly exactly the same point emerges from another book we reviewed below, about the strategy of Team Sky. Surrounding yourself with the right team - be it spouse, coach or mentor - is also key. In this best selling book Dr Rotella takes many of his case studies from the world of sport. Even as a non-golfer and non-basketball player, I found it an enthralling read.
Knowing the Score: My Family and Our Tennis Story by Judy Murray
Champions become champions partly thanks to the family that surround them. That's one of the key messages I learnt from this autobiography from the mother of tennis champions, Andy and Jamie Murray. Far from being a pushy parent as she's often been painted by the media, Judy Murray comes across as someone who simply adores tennis and is on a mission for youngsters to love it too. Instead of being focused entirely on her sons' careers, she's put a lot back into the sport by coaching school children and being Scottish National Coach and coach of the Fed Cup. There's a real contrast here with the Williams family who saw tennis as a great way to succeed financially. For her it's as much about giving back to the sport as taking.
The Tour According to G: My Journey to the Yellow Jersey by Geraint Thomas
What a summer it's been for British cycling, with the grand slam of the three great tours - Chris Froome taking the Giro, Geraint Thomas, the Tour and Simon Yates, the Vuelta. Of the three, by far the most heart-warming for many of us was Geraint Thomas' Tour Win. After years of riding in service to other cyclists and plagued by injuries and crashes, it's great that the good guys can finally win. This book is pretty much a blow by blow account of the 2018 Tour with great insights to life in the peloton.
Redemption: From Ironbars to Ironman by John McAvoy
From Iron Bars to Ironman could not be further from your 'standard' sporting tale. It tells the fascinating and inspirational story of former criminal, now world-record holder and endurance athlete John McAvoy. Born into a notorious London crime family (his uncle Micky was one of the key players in the infamous Brinks-Mat robbery) John carved out a lucrative career in armed robbery. Despite being in prison, he was driven to forge a new identity. Using his astonishing mental strength and physical courage he smashed six British and three world indoor rowing records while in jail. Four of those British records still stand.
Redemption is the ultimate story of sporting salvation, and powerfully illustrates that no matter where you are in your life it is never too late to change your path.
Running Beyond by Ian Corless
Look no further if you're looking for inspiration to get you back into running. The ultimate runner's coffee table book this is the perfect gift for the runner in your life or indulgent purchase for yourself. The incomparable photographer, Ian Corless has pulled together a stunning collection of images from the worlds of ultras and mountain races alike. Whilst many may marvel at the photos of the UTMB, the our own highlights included the photos of the Sierre-Zinal race in Switzerland, having both run and walked it with our children for many years.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know if you've read any great sports books you'd like to share. We'd love to add them to our reading list!