The Dirtiest Race in History: Ben Johnson, Carl Lewis and the 1988 Olympic 100m Final (Anglais) Broché – 1 août 2013
Descriptions du produit
Revue de presse
'The book is a magnificent document about the Carl Lewis-Ben Johnson rivalry. It plunges you deep into the bitterness that marked their enmity and because Moore is the kind of journalist who will speak to 17 people when he could get the story from two, the breadth and detail is astonishing' -- The Times
'A remarkably fresh read given the amount of ink already spilled on the topic. Author Richard Moore has delivered what is certainly the most comprehensive account, and as close to definitive as possible without giving all the 'answers'' --Glasgow Herald
'Probably the finest sports book published this year' -- thewashingmachinepost.net
'A captivating and detailed account ... it reads like a thriller, which is exactly the right tone to adopt by author Richard Moore for a story dripping with skulduggery and intrigue ... compelling' --Sunday Express
'The sportswriter Richard Moore tells the story at a sprinter's pace in his rollicking and well-researched The Dirtiest Race in History' -- Simon Kuper, Financial Times
'Written with a fine sense of balance, timing and tension' --The Guardian --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Relié .
Présentation de l'éditeur
Ben Johnson's world-record time of 9.79 seconds - as thrilling as it was - was the beginning rather than the end of the story. Following the race, Johnson tested positive, news that generated as many - if not more - shockwaves as his fastest ever run. He was stripped of the title, Lewis was awarded the gold medal, Linford Christie the silver and Calvin Smith the bronze.
More than two decades on, the story still hadn't ended. In 1999 Lewis was named Sportsman of the Century by the IOC, and Olympian of the Century by Sports Illustrated. Yet his reputation was damaged by revelations that he too used performance-enhancing drugs, and tested positive prior to the Seoul Olympics. Christie also tested positive in Seoul but his explanation, that the banned substance had been in ginseng tea, was accepted. Smith, now a lecturer in English literature at a Florida university, was the only athlete in the top five whose reputation remains unblemished - the others all tested positive at some stage in their careers.
Containing remarkable new revelations, this book uses witness interviews - with Johnson, Lewis and Smith among others - to reconstruct the build-up to the race, the race itself, and the fallout when news of Johnson's positive test broke and he was forced into hiding. It also examines the rivalry of the two favourites going into it, and puts the race in a historical context, examining its continuing relevance on the sport today, where every new record elicits scepticism.
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The 100 meter final in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul has been called the greatest race in the history of track and field. Ben Johnson of Canada and Carl Lewis of the United States headlined the event, which resulted in Johnson winning the gold medal with a world record time of 9.79 seconds. However, the post race drug testing found that Johnson had traces of illegal substances in his urine and was disqualified. This book by Richard Moore examines the activities and training of these two men and how it ultimately leads to the event being a historical one for completely different reasons.
Moore researches the lives and training of both Lewis and Johnson thoroughly. Nothing is left untouched - their workout routines, the trainers each used, the methods used by those trainers and yes, the substances that were used as well. While most remember Johnson's disqualification, it is worth noting that the author does not paint a rosy picture of Lewis for this topic either. Lewis was also found to have traces of banned substances after the US Olympic trials, but he was able to compete due to officials accepting his explanation. It should be noted that athletes were given chances to explain the presence of the substance in their samples, including during the Olympics, and Lewis' was deemed satisfactory.
The stories of the two main runners were richly portrayed. I was especially enamored with Moore's portrayal of Lewis and how he reacted to the negative media he often received, including his lack of sponsorship opportunities after winning four gold medals in the 1984 Olympics. Both Lewis and Johnson are thoroughly examined in the book. A very good book that is a great read for not only sports fans, but those who like to dig deeper into controversial topics.
Did I skim?
Did I learn anything new?
Yes - while I was aware of the rivalry between Johnson and Lewis, I did not realize how much bitterness there was between the two athletes, especially on the part of Johnson toward Lewis. Also, this book will reveal the identity of the "mystery man" who was with Johnson during the drug testing immediately after the 100 m final. Now, of course I am not going to reveal that if you don't already know - you have to read the book!
Pace of the book:
Good for the most part. Some of the sections on the trainers and the science behind the drugs was a bit heavy and slowed the book down.
Excellent research and insight into the two athletes, especially Johnson. Other runners in that 100 m final such as Calvin Smith are also covered well.
Only the aforementioned parts of the science behind the drugs. While interesting and an important part of the story, I felt that those without the background knowledge would be lost reading this section.
Do I recommend?
Yes, for track and field fans and also those who enjoy the Olympics, whether watching or researching history.
But I was still very satisfied with it. You get a much richer picture of the competitors, especially Ben Johnson, and the other actors, such as Joe Douglas. And the writing is very good, engaging and detailed but not overly so. This should be a compelling read for anyone with an interest in elite sports. And as the Lance Armstrong affair shows, the same issues keep resurfacing.