1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The perfect rivalry,
This review is from: The Perfect Distance: Ovett and Coe: The Record Breaking Rivalry (Paperback)
Pat Butcher's book is a fine read - accurate, entertaining, informative, and including a generous helping of human drama. His assessments are fair and even-handed, something not always easy to achieve even after more than 20 years. His accounts of past achievements and rivalries, his revealing of the person behing the athlete, and the transition from (sh)amateurism to professionalism are excellent. I particularly like some of the little details which spoke to much (.... and Coleman said, "Ovett, those blue eyes, like chips of ice.")
In fact I might have given 5 stars but I found the journalistic dialect - the extensive use of stereotypes, the exaggerated black and white - was a little grating (only a real Ovett opponent would accept that for years he made Coe's athletic career a misery). Of course, it is hard to escape the reality that these were two exceptional athletes, and it certainly was the rivalry between them that captured the imagination of track enthusiasts and the general public alike. But the dominant theme of the book was "rivalry" rather than the athletic event itself. I would have preferred the book to bring out just is so special, so "perfect" about the mile (British or metric), because it IS a special distance, posing special challenges to the athlete and lending itself to the type of sporting confrontation that generates these special rivalries.