Endurance: The Extraordinary Life and Times of Emil Zatopek
|Series:||Wisden Sports Writing|
Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year 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. 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. Due to extensive access to those involved, including Dana herself, 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.
The story of the greatest long-distance athlete in history - a tale of running, redemption and political exile
Shortlisted for William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2016.
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) Rick Broadbent is an outstanding journalist and he has researched his subject deeply Athletics Weekly 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 Endurance is an excellent biography Goodreads A fantastic read from beginning to end Goodreads Rick Broadbent is a skilful and experienced sports writer Times Literary Supplement Rather than focus solely on Zatopek's life, Broadbent spends many pages writing about the men Zatopek's life touched. It's an approach that works splendidly ... [It] gives the reader a better sense of Zatopek's place in the world LetsRun.com
Rick Broadbent is an award-winning journalist and author. He has been staff writer at The Times for 15 years and spent 2007-13 as the paper's athletics correspondent. He has written eight books, including That Near-Death Thing and Ring of Fire, both shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year. He was also the ghostwriter of Jessica Ennis's bestselling autobiography. He lives in Dorset. @ricktimes