IoS Books of the Year 2012: Sport

Britain's athletes strike gold all over again

It is no surprise that an Olympic year has sparked a clutch of subsequent autobiographies. Pride of place goes to Seb Coe, the man who did so much to make London 2012 possible, but Running My Life (Hodder, £20) is far from the self-congratulatory account one might expect. Charting his rise from a Sheffield secondary modern to double Olympic champion, multiple record-holder, politician and inspirational leader behind the successful Games, he reveals a personality far more amusing and unpretentious than his smooth public image would suggest.

Two gold medal-winning cyclists also tell their story: Bradley Wiggins recounts in somewhat breathless fashion his year of years (he also became the first Briton to win the Tour de France) in My Time (Yellow Jersey, £18.99); and Victoria Pendleton's Between the Lines (HarperSport, £20) reveals that a troubled, self-harming soul who has become disenchanted with cycling lies behind her outwardly glamorous persona.

But the cycling book of the year is undoubtedly The Secret Race by Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle (Bantam, £18.99), in which Hamilton lifts the lid on the sport's drug culture. The American rider comes clean about his own guilt, but his most eye-popping revelations concern his former teammate Lance Armstrong, the seven-times Tour de France winner. Hamilton describes in forensic detail how the doping system operated and how riders cheated it, and claims that Armstrong did test positive but survived because, such was his influence, the sport's authorities hushed it up. How times change – thanks in no small part to Hamilton.

Arthur Newton and Peter Gavuzzi faced considerably more mileage than the Tour – and on foot – when they lined up in 1928 for a 3,500-mile road race from Los Angeles to New York. Mark Whitaker's Running For Their Lives (Yellow Jersey, £17.99) explores the unlikely friendship forged between two rootless Englishmen: the resolutely middle-class Newton and the working-class ship's steward Gavuzzi. Newton went on to set many world distance records, beating his own 100-mile mark at the age of 51, but riches and enduring fame eluded both. Whitaker has done an excellent job in bringing them to life.

A runner not short of riches and fame is the racehorse Frankel, who in his 14 unbeaten outings earned £2,998,302 while racing for a total of 21min 59.8sec, and is set to earn £10m a year following his retirement to stud. The best ever? That is impossible to quantify, but none of the contributors to Frankel: The Wonder Horse (Racing Post, £20), a sumptuously illustrated complete record of his career, is prepared to argue against it.

Simon Jordan would be the first to admit that he was not the world's most successful football chairman, having blown many millions on buying and funding Crystal Palace for 10 years, only to see the club slide into administration early in 2010. Brash, flash and full of bottle-blond ambition, he strode into league football at 32, convinced he had all the answers. But by the end of his memoir Be Careful What You Wish For (Yellow Jersey, £18.99), written with verve and humour, he comes across as a surprisingly sympathetic character. The final chapters, about his own and the club's financial meltdown, read like a fast-paced thriller.

There has been no shortage of Jewish football chairmen, administrators and fans over the years, but where are the players? In Does Your Rabbi Know You're Here? (Quercus, £20), a thought-provoking, absorbing exploration of what Anthony Clavane terms "English football's forgotten tribe", he points to historic patterns of Jewish thinking, hinted at in the title, and social discrimination, as reasons for the relative paucity. Yet he argues that "being a Good Sportsman and a Good Jew are not incompatible aspirations, and Englishness and Jewishness are not mutually contradictory". Amen to that.

Miles Jupp is a man of many parts – stand-up comedian, actor, writer, cricket fan, drinker – but his decision to try and cover England's 2006 Test series in India as a journalist proved an ambition too far. He wangled accreditation as a correspondent for the Western Mail and BBC Scotland, but things went wrong from the start. Yet while he is not a seasoned journalist, Jupp is a natural writer, and Fibber in the Heat (Ebury, £11.99), a self-deprecatory account of his innocence abroad in the press box, is very funny.

Arts and Entertainment
Kathy (Sally Lindsay) in Ordinary Lies
tvReview: The seemingly dull Kathy proves her life is anything but a snoozefest
Arts and Entertainment

Listen to his collaboration with Naughty Boy

music
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig in a scene from ‘Spectre’, released in the UK on 23 October

film
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap

film
Arts and Entertainment

Poldark review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Katie Brayben is nominated for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Carole King in Beautiful

film
Arts and Entertainment
Israeli-born actress Gal Gadot has been cast to play Wonder Woman
film
News
Top Gear presenter James May appears to be struggling with his new-found free time
people
Arts and Entertainment
Kendrick Lamar at the Made in America Festival in Los Angeles last summer
music
Arts and Entertainment
'Marley & Me' with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Hamm (right) and John Slattery in the final series of Mad Men
tv
Arts and Entertainment
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
art
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

    The masterminds behind the election

    How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
    How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
    11 best bedside tables

    11 best bedside tables

    It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
    Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

    Italy vs England player ratings

    Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
    Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

    An underdog's tale of making the most of it

    Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
    Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

    Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

    Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat