Search for your sports books:

Featured Publisher: John Blake
Apart form its current publications, John Blake Publishing has a sizeable back list of acclaimed sporting titles. These include biographies of stars such as Roger Federer, WG Grace, Fernando Torres and Frankie Dettori. For more information, visit www.blake.co.uk



Read Review
<back to archive

The Dirtiest Race in History By Richard Moore

Release date: 20th September, 2012
Publisher: Wisden

List Price: £18.99
Our Price: £13.29
You Save: £5.7 (30%)
Buy Now

Is it true that you need only scratch the surface of most sports to reveal the noxious stench of cheating and corruption? Most of us would like to think not, but one wonders whether professional cycling has, until very recently, remained the only sport tainted by alleged drug-infused shenanigans.

Does it occasionally suit sports governing bodies to keep any mention or suspicion of drug-taking quiet? Are administrators simply more interested in protecting a sport's 'image' rather than publicly carpeting the cheats? Discuss.

Which brings us to an extremely well-researched and wonderfully-written tale about the Olympic 100m final in Seoul in 1988, Richard Moore's outstanding book, The Dirtiest Race in History.

The race, writes Moore, "was magical, thrilling, the stunning denouement to one of sport's most compelling rivalries. A race that - we instinctively knew - would be remembered long after the rest of Seoul had faded in the memory." As the runners took to their starting blocks, however, no one had any idea why the race would be remembered.

Canadian Ben Johnson beat American Carl Lewis in a world record time of 9.79 seconds, but even in the press conference afterwards there was scepticism amongst journalists regarding the method of Johnson's victory.

Three days later, journalistic suspicions were confirmed and Johnson was stripped of his gold after testing positive for taking stanozolol, his medal awarded to Lewis. Yet Lewis too had tested positive for banned stimulants on the eve of the Olympics, but his case was dismissed by US authorities who accepted his excuse of "inadvertent use".

So should the gold have gone to third-placed Linford Christie? Well, it transpires that he too tested positive (for pseudoephedrine) during the Games and was also cleared because of "inadvertent use". Years later, Christie tested positive for taking the steroid nandrolone.

Three other runners in the 100m final (Dennis Mitchell, later banned for taking testosterone, Desai Williams, who admitted to taking anabolic steroids and Ray Stewart, later banned for life while working as a coach) were also tainted. Only US runner Calvin Smith and Brazilian sprinter Robson da Silva enjoy unblemished reputations today.

The intensity and depth of Moore's research make this a fascinating read and prompts the reader to wonder whether the stench of cheating in other sports is closer than we think.


<back to archive


Toolstation


SBOTM Current Top 10

Unstoppable: My Life So Far By Maria Sharapova
Particular Books
Read Review Buy Now
Over and Out: My Innings of a Lifetime with Test Match Special By Henry Blofeld
Hodder & Staughton
Read Review Buy Now
Football: My Life, My Passion By Graeme Souness
Headline
Read Review Buy Now
Rugby, The Game Of My Life: Battling For England in the Professional Era By Rob Andrew
Hodder & Staughton
Read Review Buy Now
Ali: A Life By Jonathan Eig
Simon & Schuster
Read Review Buy Now
A Clear Blue Sky By Jonny Bairstow with Duncan Hamilton
Harper Collins
Read Review Buy Now
From Orient to the Emirates The Plucky Rise of Burnley FC By Tim Quelch
Pitch Publishing
Read Review Buy Now
Ascent By Sir Chris Bonnington
Simon & Schuster
Read Review Buy Now
Glove Story By Rob Stokes, Derek Hammond & Gary Silke
Conker Editions
Read Review Buy Now
The Way of the Runner A Journey Into the Fabled World of Japanese Running By Adharanand Finn
WW Norton
Read Review Buy Now

Amazon’s top 6 best-sellers

© Sharks Media Ltd 2004 – 2012. Site designed and maintained by Marcus Hamblett for Furydesign.