Have COVID-19 restrictions got you spending more time at home these days? Consider filling some of the time with a good book. This week University of Saskatchewan Huskie Courtney Hufsmith shares some of the best reads she’s devoured during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It may seem common for an athlete to be interested in reading about some of their sports idols. But for me it goes beyond just learning about the athletes’ background. While their story is part of what piques my interest, I am more interested in the lessons that they have learned throughout their careers, that can be applied to life within and beyond sport.
I have just finished up my fourth year of university classes online, leaving me with plenty of time to devour some books. Below I have listed five sports autobiographies that I have found interesting, insightful, and enjoyable to read!
Let Your Mind Run
By Deena Kastor (Olympic bronze medalist in the marathon and 8-time national USA cross country champion)
I think anyone that is interested in running would really enjoy this book. Personally, I enjoyed how honest and openly Deena Kastor wrote, and her perspective on the power of positive self-talk.
By Aly Raisman (Multiple Olympic gold, silver, and bronze medalist in gymnastics)
I enjoyed Aly Raisman’s story because I found many elements of her personality relatable to my own. She was never the most talented athlete, but always the hardest working and that took her very far.
Courage to Soar
By Simone Biles (Five-time Olympic medalist and 25-time World medalist in gymnastics)
Simone Biles may go down as the greatest gymnast of all time and her career is not over just yet. I found her story very interesting, especially when comparing it to Aly Raisman’s (her teammate). Biles had a talent for gymnastics the minute she stepped into the gym, but she faced many personal struggles (including foster care) to get to where she is today.
By Meb Keflezighi (Olympic silver medalist, New York City and Boston marathon champion)
26 Marathons was one of those books that you finish in a day or two (because you cannot put it down) and wish that you had not read it that fast. What I admired most about Meb’s story was his perseverance. It amazed me how many times he failed, learned, and kept going, in order to achieve his greatest feats in his 26-marathon long career.
By Maria Sherapova (Olympic silver medalist and five-time grand slam champion in tennis)
While Sherapova is a very successful tennis player, I found it interesting to read about someone who frequently claimed the “runner-up position” (i.e., to Serena Williams). The times that Sherapova played to her unique strengths were the times that she came out victorious and I think that is a great lesson that can be learned from the book.
Another honorable mention that is not a sports autobiography, but that I found had a very powerful message, is the book The Miracle Equation by Hal Elrod. I read this book on my trip to Italy last summer and I finished it the day of my bronze medal race at the World University Games. The take-home message is that with a combination of faith and extraordinary effort anything is possible. I also think this message is important right now, while there is a great deal of uncertainty in our world and it may be difficult to have faith in the future.
Hopefully these book recommendations can be used to inspire, educate, and/or entertain, during these tough times, as they have for me!
Courtney Hufsmith is a decorated cross-country and middle-distance track runner with the University of Saskatchewan. Her achievements include a bronze medal in the 1,500 at the 2019 Summer Universiade (FISU; World University Championships) and medals at the U SPORTS National Championships in the 3,000m, and 1,500m. She just completed her fourth year of marketing.