Golden Girl: How Natalie Coughlin Fought Back, Challenged Conventional Wisdom, and Became America's Olympic Champion
Michael Silver. Rodale Press, $24.95 (285pp) ISBN 978-1-59486-254-0
This story of professional swimmer and 2004 Olympic gold medalist Natalie Coughlin personalizes an athlete's strife on her way to the top, her fight against those predicting her fall and her internal struggles against illness, injury and the pressures of the sport. Perhaps ""the most talented woman swimmer of her generation,"" Coughlin found herself facing questions from the press like, ""How does it feel to dishonor your country?"" following her harsh defeat in the 2003 FINA World Championship preliminaries-brought on by illness-that immediately preceded her Olympic victory. Tracking her progress from college on, the book has a scenic, nonlinear organization that makes it a bit confusing, but includes fascinating behind-the-scenes stories of Coughlin's coach Teri McKeever, her competition, her actor/football player father and his twin, and the training strategies involved in making a world-class athlete. Rich in detail, this a dramatic and humanizing portrait of an iconic American athlete.
Reviewed on: 04/03/2006