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Olympic Collision: The Story of Mary Decker and Zola Budd Hardcover – November 1, 2016
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Alexander F. Keating, Jr.
Keiderling jumps back and forth between the two women as they grow into elite athletes, often reminding us of the political climate around each of them, Decker with banned drug use and how different athletic associations deal (and don't deal) with it and Budd's challenges with the apartheid issue in South Africa putting limits on Budd excelling as a public figure in the world of running. Keiderling is careful to detail the important events in each woman's lives, from their romantic relationships, to their families, to their coaches over the years. It does shine through that Keiderling carries a clear opinion on certain issues, but he still does a good job of considering both sides. It's a little slow and a bit dry towards the middle of the book, when Keiderling is narrating each woman's life after the 1984 incident, but in the end the reader learns to appreciate Decker and Budd for who they became.
As a recreational runner myself, I really enjoyed reading about these women and I learned so much about them and what it means to be a professional runner. I think OLYMPIC COLLISION provides not just a history of these women and women's middle distance running in the 1980's, but also takes a closer look at how politics and drug use clouded the purity of the sport in that time.
Thank you to University of Nebraska Press, Kyle Keiderling, and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion!