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The Perfect Distance - Ovett and Coe: The Record-Breaking Rivalry Paperback – July 1, 2005
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As author Pat Butcher -- a fair middle distance runner in his own right -- points out, as with all great rivalries, the battles between Mr. Coe and Mr. Ovett attracted attention as much because of the athletes' personalities as because of their prodigious talents. Mr. Coe -- now Lord Coe -- was the refined and cultured middle class boy, compared to Mr. Ovett, the muscular and brash son of market trader.
Based on his world record for 800 meters that lasted for an amazing 16 years and his successful defense of his 1500-meter title at the Los Angeles Olympics, Mr. Coe was probably the most successful of the two. But such comparisons are really not relevant with a rivalry like this one. These two men traded world records -- some of which stood for mere hours before the other crushed them half a continent away -- in a way that entranced any sports fan in the early 1980s. Each won the other's specialty at the Moscow Olympics in 1980, and Mr. Ovett once won 45 races in a row over nearly three years, a record unlikely to ever be duplicated at the highest level.
As a high school and university-level middle distance runner at that time, the battles between these two great athletes had no small influence on me, which is why I decided to buy this book the moment I saw it. But the thing that pushes this volume over the top is the way Mr.Read more ›
Other reviewers describe the substantial emphasis on interpersonal relationships, especially Ovett's relationship with his father/coach and Coe's relationship with his coach. The author interviewed many people for this book; at times, it seemed he felt he had to include everything anyone had told him about a particular subject, resulting in what seemed a lot of repetition. This is especially true early in the book.
There is extraneous material. There is a chapter on Andy Norman, an important promoter, who made important contributions by organizing races in which Ovett and Coe showed what they could do. But the chapter includes discussions of Norman's ethics and his behavior that led to a writer's suicide. In describing the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, the author devotes a page to Carl Lewis' behavior, resulting in a lack of endorsement offers. It is very hard to understand what this has to do with Ovett and Coe. There is chapter devoted to the author's screed about the evils of having pace setters in races to promote fast times; since Coe and Ovett rarely raced each other but were so far ahead of most of their competition, it is hard to understand how he expected them to reach their achievable times without pace setters.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Marvelous recollections of a big part of my life - very thorough research combined with an easy writing style. Thank you!Published 24 months ago by Malcolm Coomber
Great book which provides insight into the men behind the story. Both Ovett and Coe were very interesting and intriguing personalities and I learned a lot about what drove them and... Read morePublished on October 29, 2013 by Tomumass
I’m sad, I’m a tragic for anything running related of this era. These guys were my heroes growing up and I devoured anything associated with them. Read morePublished on March 22, 2013 by Chris Sutton
Great condition, the three runners ovett coe and cram have always been an inspiration, glad to get a hold of it.Published on July 17, 2010 by Sam Watson
I was a high school runner when Coe and Ovett burst upon the world Track and Field scene. I was awed by their performances and read everything I could about them, which wasn't much... Read morePublished on September 13, 2009 by D. Antokal
Intersting history of athletics careers of Coe and Ovett. Life is tough even for championsPublished on May 21, 2009 by Plodder
This was a very enjoyable book about the great Ovett/Coe rivalry. The book delves into the roots/family influences of the two very talented middle distance runners including... Read morePublished on November 28, 2007 by Bookworm