Search for your sports books:

MoneyMap

Read Review
<back to archive

The Russian Affair By David Walsh

Release date: 11th July, 2020
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

List Price: Ł19.99
Our Price: Ł12.38
You Save: Ł7.61 (38%)
Buy Now

Imagine the anger and anguish felt by people who devote their lives to both competing in, and perhaps even winning, an Olympic medal when they discover that one or more of their opponents, often individuals who triumphed and enjoyed the contemporaneous glory, were cheating. It must rankle for years.

Though it’s existed in some form for centuries, drug-taking in sport has become a TV-age phenomenon, either state-driven by countries behaving like recalcitrant children, wishing to show the rest of the world how effective their particular brand of totalitarianism / kleptomania actually is, or else undertaken surreptitiously by individuals who crave fame and fortune.

David Walsh’s latest book, The Russian Affair, which deals with state-sponsored drug abuse, is completely different to his bloodhound-style pursuit of cycling’s Lance Armstrong in his excellent Seven Deadly Sins. For a start, the book’s main protagonists, Vitaly Stephanov and Yuliya Rusanova, come to the author with such a volume of evidence that Walsh is almost compelled to write it.

Stephanov and Rusanova met on a date in Moscow: he worked for Russia’s anti-doping agency, Rusada; Rusanova, meanwhile, was a promising 800m runner who revealed that she wasn’t the only Russian engaged in systematic doping – the whole national athletics’ team was at it. The man at the heart of this deception was Dr Grigory Rodchenkov, a long-time director of an institution known officially as the Moscow Anti-Doping Centre.

During nine years at the MODC, a period that encapsulated five summer and winter Games, the doctor ensured that not a single Russian athlete tested positive for drugs. However, more than 40 Russian athletes have since been stripped of their medals won during Rodchenkov’s time.

Underpinned by an unlikely love story (Stephanov and Rusanova inevitably fall for each other) are a number of scenes that wouldn’t be out of place in a spy thriller as the pair assemble mountains of incriminating evidence. The recording of Mariya Savinova, who won 800m gold at London 2012 and admits to doping, might be a betrayal of a friend, but her admission is vital to the pair’s case – and the greater good.

Not surprisingly the couple decide to leave Russia and today, apparently, they live in exile under assumed names in the United States hoping, no doubt, they’re far enough out of Russia’s revengeful reach.



<back to archive


MoneyMapp


SBOTM Current Top 10

Get It On: How the ?70s Rocked Football By Jon Spurling
Biteback
Read Review Buy Now
Time on Rock By Anna Fleming
Canongate
Read Review Buy Now
41-Love: A Memoir By Scarlett Thomas
Counterpoint
Read Review Buy Now
Anatomy of a Football Scout by Jon Cotterill
Camara Brasileira
Read Review Buy Now
Sweat: A History of Physical Exercise By Bill Hayes
Bloomsbury Sport
Read Review Buy Now
52 Ways to Walk By Annabel Streets
Bloomsbury Sport
Read Review Buy Now
Fit And Proper People By Martin Calladine & James Cave
Pitch Publishing
Read Review Buy Now
God is Dead The Rise & Fall of Frank Vandenbrouke By Andy McGrath
Bantam Books
Read Review Buy Now
Butler to the World How Britain Became the Servant of Oligarchs, Tax Dodgers, Kleptocrats and Criminals By Oliver Bullough
Profile Books
Read Review Buy Now
A Delicate Game Brain Injury, Sport and Sacrifice By Hana Walker-Brown
Hodder
Read Review Buy Now

© 2004-2022 Sharks Media Limited.