15 April 2021

Christmas gift guide: Best sports books

December 16, 2014

A good book can inspire you for years and makes the prefect Christmas gift. Here’s our pick of some new releases and old favourites.


The Breakaway by Nicole Cooke
(pictured below left)

A retirement statement from a sports star rarely causes a flicker, but when Nicole Cooke retired, she planned it to perfection. As Lance Armstrong, a fraudster and bully was about to deliver a stage-managed confession to Oprah, Nicole took aim.

She too had been a cyclist, the only rider ever to have become World and Olympic champion in the same year, and the first British cyclist to have been ranked World No.1. But as a woman in a man’s world, her exploits gained little recognition and brought no riches.

In her frank and outspoken autobiography, Nicole Cooke tells it how it was, from her childhood dreams of success, to leaving home at 18 to pursue her goals in Italy, to winning gold in the Beijing Olympics and beyond.

Broken contracts, unpaid wages, injury and drugs cheats were just some of the challenges she faced, even before she lined up to take on her opponents. The Breakaway is a book that will not only inspire, but which also asks some serious questions about the way society regards women’s sport.

Published: 31 July 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Price: £16.00
Buy: www.waterstones.com


Paying The Price by Stephanie Millward
(pictured above right )

Stephanie Millward was on the verge of the British able-bodied swimming squad when at the age of 17 she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). She returned to competitive swimming 10 years later with the GB Paralympic squad at the Beijing Olympics. At London 2012 she won four Olympic silvers and one bronze,  she is also a multiple IPC World & European champion.

This book is an honest account of the struggles and dark times of Stephanies illness, and yet is inspirational in her subsequent battle to go on and achieve so many of her goals regardless of the circumstances. Stephanie is currently aiming for the Rio games where she hopes to complete her set of medals with a gold.

Stephanie has self-published this book and you can order directly from her via payingtheprice@mail.com, a percentage of the proceeds will be going to two charities. Alternatively you can order via Amazon:

Published: 6 Nov 2014
Publisher: Stephanie Millward
Price: £11.99
Buy: www.amazon.co.uk

Marathon Woman: Running the Race to Revolutionize Women’s Sports by Katherine Switzer
(pictured below left)

In 1967, Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to officially run what was then the all male Boston Marathon, infuriating one of the event’s directors who attempted to violently eject her. In what would become an iconic sports image, Switzer escaped and finished the race. This was a watershed moment for the sport, as well as a significant event in women’s history.

Including updates from the 2008 Summer Olympics, the paperback edition of Marathon Woman details the life of an incredible, pioneering athlete, and the lasting effect she’s had on women’s sports. Switzer’s energy and drive permeate the pages of this warm, witty memoir as she describes everything from the childhood events that inspired her to succeed, to her big win in the 1974 New York City Marathon, and beyond.

Published: 17 Feb 2009
Publisher: Katherine Switzer
Price: £9.99
Buy: www.amazon.co.uk


A Life Without Limits by Chrissie Wellington
(pictured above right)

Chrissie Wellington was the world’s No 1 female Ironman triathlete, four times World Champion and World Record holder. In 2009 she was voted ‘Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year’ and in 2010 was awarded the MBE. She is the undefeated champion of Triathlon, having won thirteen Ironman titles from thirteen races.

She set a new World Record of 8 hours 19:13 at Quelle Roth Germany in 2010, which slashed over 14 minutes from the previous record and where she was only beaten by six men. She went on to improve this time by another minute in the 2011 race. She also set a new world record for the fastest ever Ironman sanctioned event at Ironman South Africa in April 2011.

This is Chrissies extraordinary story from her first marathon to becoming world champion. It is a book on many peoples ‘must read’ list and has been The Sunday Times No 1 best seller.

Published: March 2013
Publisher: Constable
Price: £9.99
Buy: www.cotswoldoutdoor.com


A Dip in the Ocean by Sarah Outen with foreward by Dame Ellen MacArthur
(pictured above)

4,000 miles of unpredictable ocean, 500 Mars bars, 124 days of physical exertion, 3 Guinness World Records set, 1 incredible journey.

On 1 April 2009, twenty-three-year-old Sarah Outen embarked on an ambitious solo voyage across the Indian Ocean in her rowing boat, Dippers. Powered by the grief of the sudden loss of her father and the determination to live life to the full, Sarah and her tiny boat successfully negotiated wild ocean storms, unexpected encounters with whales and the continuous threat of being capsized by passing container ships.

Along the way she broke two oars and lost 20 kg of bodyweight before arriving in Mauritius. She became the first woman and the youngest person to row solo across the Indian Ocean. Life-affirming, funny and poignant, Sarah s salty tale of courage and endurance will inspire the taste of adventure in everyone.

Published: 7 Feb 2011
Publisher: Summersdale
Price: £9.99
Buy: www.amazon.co.uk

Danielle Sellwood, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine


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