Saturday, August 4, 2012

Going Gold with the Olympics

How many of you are finding yourselves just a wee bit obsessed with the Olympics? Staying up too late to watch prime time just to see how many medals the amazing Michael Phelps can rack up, or watching the awards ceremony for women's gymnastics even though you already know who won, just so you can enjoy those ear-to-ear grins; watching TV at times you would usually never consider turning it on; checking the internet more frequently to get results. Come on, be honest. A show of hands.

Well, I'll admit it. I'm obsessed, and coming on the heels of the Tour de France I am definitely tallying way too much TV/computer time these days. But I still try to keep up with my reading. As you know, I recently read the memoir by cyclist David Millar about getting caught up in doping and then returning to the sport to compete clean (in fact, he won a stage at this year's TdF).

Now I've found something that combines all of my current obsessions: cycling, the Olympics, and reading: the newly published novel Gold, by Chris Cleave (author of the novels Incendiary and Little Bee -- which you've probably heard of).

The book is about two female cyclists for the British women's team in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics -- long-time friends and competitors expecting to duke it out on the world stage at the Olympics. Then the Olympic committee, in its infinite wisdom (and to cater to sponsors), changes the rules so that each country can only send one cyclist to the Olympics (sort of like that ridiculous rule in Olympic gymnastics that each country can only send two contenders to the all-around competition, regardless of the scores of person three or four). So who will represent Britain? Nice girl Kate or bad girl Zoe?

It's perhaps not his finest of the three novels, but it's well written and entertaining, it's about cycling and the Olympics, and it's summer, for gosh sakes! So quick, before the sports spectacle ends, get yourself a copy of Gold and start reading so you can balance out your time on the couch with eyes glued to the TV. [PS: Tell me what YOU see on the cover of Gold.]