A Life Time in a Race by Matthew Pinsent

Ebury Press

Mark Haddon

"The most insightful of the post-Olympic books in which the super human rower demonstrates a reflectiveness that is rare amongst sportspeople.  He writes superbly."

Simon O'Hagan, Independent On Sunday



My views on Matthew Pinsent's autobiography might be slightly biased because, as a rower, I understood much of the terminology and the general behaviour in the sport.  However, despite this, I still believe that this is a good read and a good autobiography as autobiographies go.

The autobiography covers from the early years in Pinsent's rowing career (although fairly fleetingly - he doesn't labour the point) and builds up to what I suppose was a pinnacle in his career - winning his fourth gold at the 2004 Olympic Games in Sydney.  I was enthralled reading about his experiences as he worked towards becoming a World Champion and ultimately an Olympian.

The amount of dedication and commitment required is, I'm sure, no different to any other major sport.  However, put in the context of a sport I know and love, it really hit home the amount of time, energy and sacrifice (from both the athlete and family) goes into achieving those accolades.

Throughout the book, Pinsent really captures the feelings an emotions involved in each event.  I have to confess there were times when I also felt a little nervous when reading about the lead-up to one of his races, even though I knew the result!  I think what surprised me the most about this book was how it inspired me; every morning or evening on the train, as I read another chapter, I felt a sudden surge of inspiration to go to the gym, or a real desire to get back out on the water and work on my technique.  Some of the feelings that Pinsent refers to I haveexperienced myself many a time and it was almost reassuring to know that they never disappear,however experienced you may be. 

I'm sure most people won't get quite the same feelings as me, but the book really highlights the commitment and focus needed to achieve your full potential at something.  At times I feel that something that people - especially us English - lack and for  that reason alone I would recommend this book to anyone.



Reviewed on 01/03/2008 by Angela


Reviewed item details

ISBN: 0091903386

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