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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'

Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
The X Factor 2014 judges: Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Mel B and Louis Walsh

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace was caught by a camera van driving 32mph over the speed limit

TV
Arts and Entertainment
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Iain reacts to his GBBO disaster

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Outlaw Pete is based on an eight-minute ballad from Springsteen’s 2009 Working on a Dream album

books
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012

film
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
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.

    Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

    Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

    The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
    Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

    Stolen youth

    Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
    Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

    Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

    He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
    Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

    Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

    Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
    Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

    Made by Versace, designed by her children

    Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
    Anyone for pulled chicken?

    Pulling chicks

    Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
    9 best steam generator irons

    9 best steam generator irons

    To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
    England v Norway: Wayne Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

    Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

    New captain vows side will deliver for small Wembley crowd
    ‘We knew he was something special:’ Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing

    ‘We knew he was something special’

    Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing
    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York