Of Sporting Legends and Myths

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Come in for the legends. Stay for the glory.
Who doesn't know about Muhammad Ali? Even if you were not a boxing enthusiast, you'd know about his sporting feats, and of course, his own steadfast personality. In the ring, he was a heavyweight champion. And out of the ring, he was a staunch anti-war activist, a philanthropist, and one who always continually fought back racism and was proud of his own skin colour. His autobiography is excellent, only because it gives us an inside look into his exceptionally consistent and remarkable life.
Eat and Run is something all runners should read. Whether you're a long-distance ultramarathoner, or a small-time, short-distance occasional runner. You might not known him, but his feats are incredible:

In 1999, as a complete unknown, he took the lead of the Western States Endurance Run, a 100-mile traverse over the old Gold Rush trails of the California Sierra Nevada. He won that race seven years in a row, setting a course record along the way. Twice he won the Badwater Ultramarathon, a 135-mile “jaunt” through Death Valley. Recently he set an American record of 165.7 miles in 24 hours—6 1/2 marathons in one day.

Eat and Run is his honest chronicles of his running life -- of what inspires him, and how he manages to power through ultramarathons even when he's a vegan. And for those who are put off or intimidated by the long ultramarathon distances... Maybe it's not about going the distance, but about pushing your own personal limits.
Gabby Douglas was only 16 going on 17 when she competed in the 2012 London Olympics. And my god did she impress the world. From a young first-timer, she soon propelled into one of America's sweethearts, and part of the Fierce Five team.

Douglas has all along acknowledged that all her success doesn't come from her strength alone, but through God. And her biography is a tell-all about her relationship with God, and the rewards and strength that she has reaped.
The fall of Lance Armstrong was arguably one of the biggest, most high-profile sporting letdowns. In the beginning he was a man who beat cancer, who doggedly did not allow a sickness to get to him.

Cycle of Lies is an entertaining read, only because you get to go behind the scenes to see the entire scandal. Juliet Macur had unprecedented access to to the key players in the drama – from Armstrong’s fellow cyclists and top cycling officials to doctors, trainers and wives. You'll see how Armstrong built a fortress of people around him to protect his image and upend the lives of anybody who stood in his way.

Scary? Yeah. Entertaining? HELL YEAH.
Did you know that before Ronda Rousey was a UFC fighter, she was the youngest judoka in the entire Olympic Games when she qualified for the 2004 Athens games? Her 34-second knockout wasn't just her only impressive record for sure. From her medal winning days to her MMA wins, read all about how she overcame the odds to become one of the most impressive fighters in a male-dominated sport.
After Michael Jordan, Lebron James is probably the next biggest, and most recognisable basketball star. Even if you didn't care about the sport, you'd know who he is. But his popularity goes beyond his feats on the court. James is also known for his support for single parent families (having come from one himself). This book not only gives us a look into the highlights of his sporting career, but also into his philanthropic personality.
LeBron James, Kimberly Gatto
Come on. Sir David Beckham needs to introduction. If there's one sportsman who's risen above the label of sporting talent and into a personal brand -- it's David Beckham. He's not just the face for football. He's the face for H&M and countless other brands. Just how did a small town boy come to become so huge?
After years of hiding the truth, Welshman Gareth became the first international rugby player to come out as gay. And it hasn't been an easy path to contentment. Captain Courage is all about his life yes, but it's also a testament to the bravery, courage and authenticity that you can achieve in your life.
Captain Courage, Gareth Thomas
Bruce Jenner is not who we have come to know anymore. The former Olympic gold medal-winning decathlete has shed her past as a sportsman. But that doesn't detract, or take away Jenner's achievements from the past 20 years or so. Read how Jenner captured America's attention by smashing records, and how she's since moved on to something a lot bigger than the "sportsman" label.
As of this year, at age 34, Serena Williams has bagged 22 Grand Slam titles. Do you know what kind of feat that is? Serena Williams is arguably the best of the best when it comes to tennis. But she still gets overlooked in terms of finances and glory. Andrew McKay's look into her life, and her rise to sports stardom is nothing short of exciting and exceptional.
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