Olympic Gold: A Runner's Life and Times Hardcover – May 1984
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It was a time long before the running boom and Shorter - along with Steve Prefontaine and a handful of others - was a catalyst to bring the sport to the streets and trails of this country. At one point, Shorter's father had to drive "shotgun" while he trained due to being frequently harassed by a group of punks.
Shorter was also one of the first American track athletes to start his own clothing line, and the book traces the hurdles he had in getting the project off the ground. While in a dispute with the manufacturer, the clothing line that was stored in a warehouse was stripped of the company logo and repackaged for sale under another runner's brand name!
His dispute with Bill Rodgers is also candidly dealt with, though both have patched up their differences since the book was published in the early 1980s.
Runners who came of age after Shorter retired from international competition will appreciate the history lesson. Those who laced up the shoes before or during the early stages of the running boom will enjoy a trek down memory lane.
"Olympic Gold" chronicles Shorter's rise from above-average prep school runner to promising collegiate runner to world class athlete. U.S. athletes had been virtual no-shows in long distance running for decades; Shorter was one of a group of young runners who invested the time and milage to become internationally ranked in the 1970's. Shorter himself, along with Steve Prefontaine, was one of a rare breed who were truly competitive at distances from two miles to the marathon.
Shorter went beyond the racing to push the envelope on obsolete restrictions on amateurism in the United States. Thanks in significant degree to his pioneering advocacy, U.S. runners can now be paid for their appearences at races and can earn money through endorsements. Shorter himself helped pay for his training by marketing a line of clothing specifically adapted to running.
Shorter and his contemporaries are all long since retired from competitive running, but his biography makes for an interest time capsule, full of insights on the making of the running boom of the 1970's. This book is highly recommended to those who lived that era, or may be curious about it.