Podium sheds new light on the biological, environmental and psychological influences that can shape a champion's rocky path to the top. From Ian Thorpe, Mo Farah and Rafa Nadal to Jessica Ennis, Michael Johnson and Michael Phelps, all we see is smooth progression to gold but their paths are somewhat like snakes and ladders with success and failure. By scratching under the surface of champions' life stories, common training, mental and environmental characteristics from their formative years and beyond are revealed - tales of individual brilliance are given a fresh twist.
Find out how science, along with parents, siblings, coaches, sports organisations and the athlete's own mindset contribute to their likelihood of success and transform ordinary people into extraordinary athletes.
Written for anyone interested in sport or the variables contributing to sporting success, this enthralling read will enrich your interpretation of champions' life stories and provide a map of the complex paths through sport.
Ben Oakley is Head of Sports and Fitness at Open University. He was a world champion competitor at windsurfing and then a coach at two Olympic games for the sport. Ben has also acted as academic consultant to the BBC during and in the build-up to the Olympics, writing for the BBC Sport website.
Allen and Unwin
Author: Ben Oakley