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Thursday, October 27, 2016

{Book Review} Olympic Collision: The Story of Mary Decker and Zola Budd by Kyle Keiderling

Olympic Collision: The Story of Mary Decker and Zola Budd
by Kyle Keiderling
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Release:  November 1st 2016
Genre: Non-Fiction- Adult: Running, Sports History
How I got it: Received a free copy from NetGalley

It remains one of the most memorable moments in modern Olympic history. At the 1984 summer games in Los Angeles, a raucous crowd of ninety thousand saw their favorite in the women’s 3,000-meter race, Mary Decker, go down. An audience of two billion around the world witnessed the mishap and listened to the instantaneous accusations against the suspected culprit, Zola Budd.

Just seventeen, the South African Budd had already been the target of a vicious and vocal campaign by the anti-apartheid lobby after she transferred to the British team in order to compete at the games. Decker, at twenty-six, was America’s golden girl, ready to overcome years of bad luck and injuries to rightfully take the Olympic gold for which she had waited so long. With three laps to go, Decker and Budd’s feet became tangled. Decker went down and didn’t get up, wailing in primal agony as her gold medal hopes vanished. Decker’s stumbles continued in the race’s aftermath when she refused Budd’s apology and race officials found her, not Budd, at fault for the collision. Although both women found success after the Olympics, neither could escape the long shadow of the infamous event that forever changed both of their lives and defines them in popular culture to this day.

Olympic Collision follows Decker and Budd through their lives and careers, telling the story behind the controversy; the account that emerges is certain to revise the view Americans, in particular, have held since that fateful day in Los Angeles more than thirty years ago. Olympic Collision relives one of the most famous incidents in Olympic history, its legacy, and what has happened to both athletes since.

Review: I found this to be an interesting read. The stories behind these two great women were inspiring and tear jerking.
While Decker's struggles were rough and took much diligence to overcome, Budd's challenges in my opinion were much worst and compounded by her age. This book circles around the event at the 1984 Olympic Games where Mary Decker and Zola Budd become entangled, fall and Decker limps off the course. For anyone who has trained for any event only to not finish due to an injury, this would be unpleasant to have this happen at the Olympics must have been down right devastating.
Yet this is not where the book starts and stops, it follows both Decker and Budd as they trained to get to the Olympics and what happened to them after. While Decker's course is filled with disappointing injuries and bad luck, something some might call Karma for her attitude, Zola's is much more rocky. I felt for Zola as I read her story, a young woman in her teens yanked from her home, all her friends and transplanted in a place she didn't want to be, surrounded by people who were just using her. To have it all end with her hero being a witch (replace w with b) and I wouldn't have been surprised if she had never run again after 1984. Ms Budd's strength and willpower is amazing. The fact she didn't crack under all the pressure placed on her at such a young age is inspiring.
Mr Keiderling gives us an indepth look into the lives of these wonder athletes and inspiring women. We get to see their trials, tribulations, and joys. The research is very well done, as is the writing. I was pulled into and fascinated by the lives of these women.

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