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Endurance The Extraordinary Life and Times of Emil Zatopek by Rick Broadbent
  

Endurance The Extraordinary Life and Times of Emil Zatopek

Part of the Wisden Sports Writing Series
Sport from the Armchair   Biography / Autobiography   All Shortlists and Winners   
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Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2016.

With traces of 'Chariots of Fire' and Laura Hillenbrand's 'Unbroken', Endurance is both a wonderful love story and a landmark tale of hope and strength in the face of crushing opposition. It's at the borders of pain and suffering that the men are separated from the boys.

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Synopsis

Endurance The Extraordinary Life and Times of Emil Zatopek by Rick Broadbent

A runner must run with dreams in his heart. Emil Zatopek. In the summer of 1952 Emil Zatopek became the king of the running world with an unprecedented distance treble at the Olympic Games in Helsinki. Together with his wife Dana, who won another gold medal in the javelin, they were the embodiment of sporting romance. Born on the same day, they were champions on the same day too. Yet in 1968 this affable but eccentric Czech solider was betrayed by his Communist paymasters and cast out into wilderness. Hidden from world view, monitored by the secret police and forced to live in a caravan in mining country, he became the invisible hero. 'Endurance' is the first biography to document the remarkable rise, fall and rehabilitation of a man voted the 'greatest runner of all time' by 'Runner's World' in 2013. It is also the story of a golden age of sport played out against a backdrop of Cold War politics and paranoia. From the London Olympics of 1948 to Czech concentration camps, this is an uplifting and harrowing story of survival. As Emil rises to global fame, his old coach is locked up and tortured by StB henchmen. Their diverging paths expose the fickleness of popularity and eventually cross again when Zatopek's world is torn asunder. All both men can do is endure. The running world of this era is brought to life by dramatic accounts of Zatopek's great triumphs, manifold records and a rich collection of characters vying to dethrone him. In Britain the sharp-tongued Gordon Pirie falls foul of the media as he becomes obsessed with Zatopek and adopts increasingly-masochistic methods; mild-mannered marathon champion Jim Peters begins a quest that would make women weep and grown men lose their lunch . In France Alain Mimoun crawls from the bloody carnage of his war-time exploits to overcome racial snubs and become known as Zatopek's Shadow; and in the Soviet Union, the tragic figure of Vladimir Kuts is moulded into a brutal running machine at huge cost. Only Zatopek manages to bridge this East-West divide as a savage power struggle is fought in both the Olympic arena and in the corridors of power. Due to extensive access to those involved, including Dana herself, award-winning Times author Rick Broadbent has written a vivid history involving blood and guns and a love that sustained the cruellest twists of fate. From heady nights at White City to the brave resistance during the Prague Spring, this is a book that plants the son of a carpenter at the very centre of a revolution. Whether talking to his rivals on the track or Red Army troops as tanks roll into Prague, Zatopek's humanity shines through and carries all.

Reviews

'FINALLY, the hidden life of a blazing star has been revealed, and it's even more spellbinding than I imagined. No one accomplished more on the Olympic track than Emil Zatopek, no runner was more revered and beloved, yet none of us knew what happened when he suddenly vanished from the outside world. I've been hungry to read this story for years, and in Endurance I found all the secrets, drama, and heartache of an extraordinary life. Endurance reminded me why we share this odd urge to burst out the door and run till we can't breathe, and how for one rare talent, it created greatest and most devastating moments of his life.' Christopher McDougall, author of Natural Born Heroes and Born to Run

'Broadbent reveals Zatopek's remarkable, poignant story with thoughtfulness and journalistic energy' The Times

'Meticulously researched and boasts extensive interviews with people close to Zatopek' The Independent

'This is the first proper biography of the man who revolutionised running but whose misfortune was to do so in troubled political times' The Times

'Zatopek's is a fascinating story of determination and drive... For the real tale, read the book.' The Pink (Bournemouth)

'This 314-page book, although thoroughly documenting his races, constitutes a fascinating and often disturbing account of Zatopek's life off the track.' Athletics Weekly

About the Author

Rock Broadbent is a sports writer for The Times, for whom he covers MotoGP, among other things. He has previously written books on football, boxing, athletics as well as, most recently, collaborating with motorcycle-legend Ron Haslam on his autobiography, Rocket Men, published by Bantam Press in July 2008.

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Book Info

Publication date

21st April 2016

Author

Rick Broadbent

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Publisher

Wisden an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Format

Hardback
320 pages

Categories

Sport from the Armchair
Biography / Autobiography
All Shortlists and Winners

Biography: sport
Marathon & cross-country running

ISBN

9781472920225

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