One of the most inspirational books I have ever read Captures the mindset and struggles of athletes that anyone can relate to, Olympian and above average Easy reading, great prose, and I feel like she was writing about me I cannot recommend it enough. Very funny. I really enjoyed Kathryn s story and learning about some obscure Olympic sports along the way The second half of the book I read quite quickly as I was rooting for her and wanting to see what would happen I suppose I could ve just read her Wiki and spoiled it, but I enjoyed the way the book unfolded with her optimism and drive very good, funny and Kathryn is a power house I first saw Kathryn Bertine s writing when she was doing a series of columns on ESPN.com about trying to become an Olympian This book is the results of her attempt, beginning in 2006, to qualify for the Beijing Summer Olympics.Like probably 90% of everyone who knows about them, Bertine s goal was to find a sport where she could compete in the summer Olympics Unlike the rest of us dreamers, though, she was an elite triathlete when she started So, she had a leg up in trying to learn a sport and become an Olympian Her triathlon distance was ling than the Olympic distance, so she was not an automatic shoe in for that team The book chronicles her experiences in trying new sports, trying to find one where her natural and trained athletic abilities would be enough to get her in the door Her struggles with all the sports she tries as she pursues her goals will ring true to anyone who has played a sport that is a bit outside the mainstream Still her writing makes all the hard work sound like fun and as a bit of humor and perspective to sore msucles, disappointing results, and the struggles of the beginner The work she does in her training and the results she achieves lend credence to every amateur dreamer out there who sweats and bleeds while friends say why do you bother I particularly liked her Mental Earplugs section where she describes what an athlete hears She also has strong encouragement for women s athletics and how they should be treated on par with men s sports And, she s right Sports can go a long way to helping all of us develop ourselves, and her book should be of interest to anyone who is an amateur athlete or who supports the athletes in their lives. Bertine was older than your average Olympic hopeful trying out a new sport when she set out to qualify for the 2008 summer Olympics, but she had an advantage A couple of them, actually One, her two year attempt was funded by ESPN she wrote articles throughout the process but didn t have to, say, wait tables The idea that I could be an athlete anda journalist seems to confuse people An athlete who works in a coffee shop while trying to get to the Olympics is rarely considered to be a barista first, an athlete second She s merely doing what it takes to support her dream A writer, on the other hand, still evokes the stereotype in which writers write and do nothing else. 12 Two, and perhaps critically, Bertine was already an elite athlete in a previous life she d been a professional figure skater, and she d recently qualified as an elite triathlete Still, with her focus on endurance rather than speed, the Olympic length triathlon wasn t a good fitand in any case, ESPN wanted her to try new things.Enter team handball I consult my memory of high school physics to recall if it is even possible to make a goal from this angle No, it s not It is, in fact, impossible Then I recall that I didn t take high school physics. 47 Some of the attempts go better than others, though it doesn t take too long for Bertine to understand that it will be nigh on impossible to succeed at such a high level of a sport she s never played before I can only be so disappointed about not making a national team in a sport I ve been playing for ninety six hours 53.It is also clear, early on, that whether or not she achieves her goal of making the Olympics, she is in for an experience of a lifetime Although the goal is the summer Olympics, she is invited to try her hand at the luge so that she can learn again that a sport she thought would be child s play is, wellnot Let me make this painfully brief Out of a possible 128 points comprising the luge physical testing program, I get a zero 113 She ends up in Australia and China while in pursuit of her dream.Things go better when Bertine turns back to sports she has experience with those involving swimming and biking, for example Eventually she figures out where she has the best chance of succeeding She settles on a sport and, gradually, sees herself improve.It s complicated than that, of course, but I don t want to give away too much although some of it is guessable In any case, it s a lot of fun as a book Bertine has a ton of energy as a writer, so I can only imagine how much energy she brings to athletics Moreover, it justsounds like a terrific experience Exhausting, and stressful, and difficultand still terrific.And I ll leave you with this My swimming career started and ended the same day, back in 1986, at a local Westchester, New York, summer swim league meet A teenage coach entered my eleven year old self in the 50 yard backstroke event I won, and then was promptly disqualified The coach explained that stopping at the shallow end to stand up and wave at parents was not permitted I decided I liked figure skating better, where standing was encouraged, waving optional. 122 |READ PDF ⚓ As Good as Gold ♾ Imagine George Plimpton Except With Real Athletic Ability And He S A Woman And She S Taken On A Challenge That Makes Paper Lion Look Like A Brisk Game Of Go Fish Meet Kathryn Bertine, Elite Triathlete, Former Professional Figure Skater, And Starving Artist Just As Her Personal And Professional Dreams Begin To Crumble In The Summer Of , ESPN Stakes Her To A Dream Take Two Years To Make The Summer Olympics In Beijing As Good As Gold Is The Heroic, Hilarious Account Of Bertine S Serial Exertions In The Realms Of Triathlon, Modern Pentathlon, Team Handball, Track Cycling, Road Cycling, Rowing, Open Water Swimming, Racewalking, And Fasten Your Seatbelts Luge On Her Journey, The Obstacles Range From Jet Lag To Jellyfish, Flat Tires To Floundering Relationships, Repeated Rejection To Road Rash But, As Time Is Running Out, Bertine Doesn T Sweat The Small Stuff, Only The Large Like Scouring The Globe For A Tiny Nation To Adopt Her, And Pushing Her Body And Mind As Far As It Will Go Maybe All The Way To China Between Harrowing, Often Laugh Out Loud Episodes Of Triumph And Humiliation, Bertine Takes Short Water Breaks To Contemplate The Ins And Outs Of Fan Mail, Failure, Rehydration, Nasal Reconstruction, And How Best To Punish Steroid Users Kathryn Bertine Swims, Runs, And Rides And Writes Like A Champion In As Good As Gold, Bertine Proves She Has Something Valuable Than An Olympic Medal She S Got Olympic Mettle When It Comes To The Human Heart, She Takes The Gold While most of the population has Walter Mitty daydreams of Olympic glory, Kathryn Bertine has the talent and determination to make her dream a reality She also has the inner drive to pursue it with every ounce of her being, and the luck to have ESPN bankroll her documentation of it all The reality is, lucky us, for she took us along with her I appreciate her narrative style, and the introduction of other Olympic caliber athletes that gut it out in crap conditions merely because they love it I also enjoyed learning about the fringe sports and glad she had the opportunity to try luge don t forget about us winter athletes, Skatie Katie I ve read some of the critisim of her representing another country, but I appreciate her rationale, and how she gave back to that country It s hard to be caring and giving when athletic pursuits are so singular Kathryn is a real inspiration to adult athletes, from pros to us weekend warriors, who are no less competitive as we juggle our ambitions with jobs, children, spouses, eletric bills, and groceries If I had to offer any critisim, it would be that for a book published in 2010, why black and white photographs when I know production of color plates is comparible to b w I guess I would have liked photos, diagrams, etc to help visualize Kathryn s narrative BTW, we d love to have you join the competitive adult skating community. I don t normally read much in the realm of either sports or autobiography, but after stumbling across some of this author s columns on ESPN, I decided to read this book I m glad I did The author predominantly maintains a humorous voice while detailing a very unusual experience being contracted by ESPN as a good athlete and writer to attempt to qualify for an Olympic sport in two years Katherine attends training camps and evaluation procedures in a variety of sports, before settling on her best chance, which she then progresses in from rank amateur to eligible for the US Olympic Trials in the course of 6 months albeit aided by it being tightly related to a sport in which she was a low level professional athlete With a nearly insane level of dedication, she manages to make failing to secure a spot on the US national team not be an end to her attempt, eventually pitching her case for dual citizenship to a nation she had never previously visited, and then flying around the world to attempt to earn enough points in the international cycling federation s qualification procedure to get to Beijing. Have you ever watched the Olympics, or any top level sporting event for that matter, and thought to yourself I could totally do that The Editors at ESPN wondered the same thing and went to find a test subject What makes this whole experience humbling is Kathryn Bertine was no couch potato, she was a formidable athlete in her own right National class ice skater in her youth, college rower in her early twenties, and an elite triathlete as an adult Could she do it in 2 years What follows is her journey s though a variety of Olympic Sports, both known and obscure, in an effort to make the team She even gives a try at the luge, and while loving it manages to score a zero on the physical assessment test This is a great look at what it takes to make the Olympic team, and in a sense any dream we might hold in our heart Commitment, sacrifice, and handwork they are all required How many of us are giving the bare minimum to get by in our passions, our families, and our jobs A must read for anyone reaching for the stars and wanting some motivation in their life.