Winning at all Costs: Sporting Gods and their Demons grapples with one of sport’s great conundrums: what raises outstanding champions above their rivals? What Gogarty and Williamson discover on their journey through the stadium of the mind is that the seed of greatness and domination can also be a curse.
Why did Dean Karnazes head off on a 1000-mile ‘fun run’ after completing his 50th back-to-back marathon in the US? Why did Gazza face so many pranks and pratfalls and why did Michael Jordan retired from basketball three times when he was already universally acknowledged as the greatest player of all time? What makes Jonny Wilkinson and David Beckham practice endlessly? It’s not just fitness. What made Mike Tyson graphically describe his aim in the ring as catching his opponent ‘right on the tip of the nose, because I try to push the bone into the brain.’ And just why is it that Romanian striker Adrian Mutu insists on wearing his underpants inside out?
Winning at all Costs: Sporting Gods and their Demons is aimed at laymen who don’t think the unconscious is the place you reach on a Saturday night after sinking fifteen pints.
The book explores psychological triggers that just might have provided the imptetus for some of the world’s most outstanding sporting successes. Those at the top are there for a reason, and as a defence for their more vulnerable selves, nowhere feels safer.
Paul Gogarty is a journalist, television presenter, and award-winning author of The Water Road and The Coast Road.
Ian Williamson is a practising Harley Street analyst. For 15 years, he played for and captained Blackheath and was on the fringes of the England rugby team. He is also a former Cambridge Blue and general sporting all-rounder.