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Steel and Grace

There is a British city that has produced some of the most exceptional individuals to ever grace the Olympic Games. A city that has developed many of the finest athletes to wear our national colours. Offering a unique insight, and drawing on extensive archives, Steel and Grace: Sheffield's Olympic Track and Field Medallists examines the athletes of 'Steel City' and their contributions to the Olympic Games over more than a century.The book examines the lives and careers of athletes who stood on the medal podium and positions their achievements within the political events that impacted upon the Games: in Berlin as Hitler showcased his Nazi regime; in Munich when terrorists murdered 11 Israeli athletes; in Moscow when British athletes competed against the wishes of the UK Government at the height of the Cold War.Steel and Grace details the accomplishments and biographies of both well-known and sadly forgotten Sheffield athletes. These include the first man in history to run the 1,500 metres in under four minutes and the athlete who completed the last eight miles of an Olympic marathon with blistered and bloodied feet to win a silver medal. The same man survived the Olympic race that nearly killed several of its competitors.In everyday life these men - and women - were miners, grocers, saw-makers, teachers. They were ordinary citizens who devoted their lives to the pursuit of Olympic glory. When amateurism made the transition to outright professionalism, at the vanguard of this change was a Sheffield athlete who was a double Olympic champion. The ultimate beneficiary was Sheffield's 'Golden Girl' who stole the show at London 2012.Steel and Grace is an exceptional contribution to Olympic literature; its exploration into the track and field history of Sheffield has no parallel. Bringing to life tales of gracious sportsmanship, fierce rivalry, heartbreak and joy, it highlights the value of Sheffield's contributions and questions where the origins of the dedication required to achieve Olympic success might lie.Table of ContentsChapter One - The Olympic Games: Principles, Peoples and PlacesChapter Two - Harold Wilson and Archie Robertson: The Odd Couple in LondonChapter Three - Ernest Glover & William Cottrill: Harriers in SwedenChapter Four - Ernie 'Evergreen' Harper: Longevity and The Long-Distance RunnerChapter Five - John and Sheila Sherwood: Family FortunesChapter Six - Sebastian Coe: Fight or Run?Chapter Seven - Jessica Ennis-Hill: The Reluctant World BeaterEpilogue
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