Beijing 2008, the 100 metres final: Usain Bolt slows down, beats his chest, metres clear of his nearest rival, his face filled with the euphoria of a young man utterly in thrall to his extraordinary physical talent. It is one of the greatest sporting moments. It is just the beginning.
Of the 10 fastest 100-metres times in history, eight belong to Jamaicans. How is it that a small Caribbean island has come to almost totally dominate the men’s and women’s sprint events?
The Bolt Supremacy opens the doors to a community where sprinting permeates conversations and interactions; where the high school championships are watched by 35,000 screaming fans; where identity, success and status are forged on the track; and where making it is a pass to a world of adoration and lucrative contracts.
In such a society there can be the incentive for some to cheat. There are those who attribute Jamaican success to something beyond talent and hard work.
Award-winning writer Richard Moore doesn’t shy away from difficult questions as he travels the length of this beguiling country speaking to antidoping agencies, scientists and sceptics, as well as to coaches, gurus, superstar athletes and the young guns desperate to become the next big thing.
Peeling back the layers, Moore finally reveals the secrets of Usain Bolt and the Jamaican sprint factory.
Reviews seemed a little mixed for this title, but I gave it a chance after watching Usain Bolt's documentary/reading on how such a tiny island is building an inventory of top grade talent in track and field. The author did a thorough job of investigating the common 'simple answers' you will hear as to why Jamaica is dominating its advisories - including genetics, the island diet, doping, and coaching. I found the book to include a great deal of information around each one, while not presenting a biased approach.
If you're a fan of track and field, or just someone who is curious as to how a group of low means islanders can beat opponents with unlimited resources, this book is a must.
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However good the Bolt story itself might be, and however worthy it might be of a ten and a half hour audio book, I have simply given up with this after around three hours. It has managed to bore me senseless. The book is narrated by the author. He does a very poor job in my view, speaking in a flat and un-animated monotone. After three hours, he'd simply stopped making this book interesting for me in any sense. This is a great shame, because Richard Moore is also the author of some some really good books that I have enjoyed greatly.
Be warned. You'll need to be drinking lots of strong coffee to survive this. Possibly my poorest choice of audiobook for a long time.
What did you like best about The Bolt Supremacy? What did you like least?
I hate to be so critical but the narration is so terrible I can't listen to this despite finding the subject interesting.
Imagine the tennis player Andy Murray's dour, dull monotone. That , slowed down by 25% with random pauses to slow it down even more. It's one of the est sleep aids I've ever bought but I still haven't got past the first 2 chapters.