Search for your sports books:

MoneyMap

Read Review
<back to archive

The Talent Lab The secrets of creating and sustaining success By Owen Slot

Release date: 27th April, 2017
Publisher: Ebury Press

List Price: 20.00
Our Price: 14.88
You Save: 5.12 (25%)
Buy Now

“Normal people do not win one gold medal, let alone a gold medal plus at least one more. Thus, it seems unlikely that super-elite athletes would have normal personalities, normal interpersonal relationships, or fit comfortably into a normal sporting system. Rather, one would expect them to have some idiosyncrasies that make them exceptional.”

The words are taken from a three-and-a-half year study conducted by Bangor University into athletes who had won more than 100 medals at Olympic and World Championship level. More than 1,400 hours of interviews were conducted with these successful athletes to create The Great British Medallists (BGM) study which would form the basis for identifying would-be Olympians. It is one of a number of fascinating asides provided by Owen Slot in The Talent Lab, a book he claims has been in the making since the Atlanta Olympics of 1996 when Britain won just one gold medal.

The turnaround in Great Britain’s Olympic fortunes has been nothing short of dramatic. From a miserable return on investment 21 years ago, in 2012, Team GB were third in the medal table; at last year’s Rio Olympics, they took second place. Yet, as Slot shows, it wasn’t as though sport was starved of cash between 1996-2012.

For instance, during the run-up to the three Olympic Games preceding 2012, a total of £52 million was spent on 282 members of the GB swimming team, yet only one of them, Rebecca Adlington (in 2008), delivered a gold medal – which she did twice.

The BGM suggested that the money needed to be targeted with even greater accuracy, but how? The report answered the question by identifying 16 super-elite athletes, every one of whom experienced a ‘significant negative critical event’ during their early years. This included the death of a parent, another parent who attempted suicide, bullying at school and a host of other motives that would become part of the force driving the child on to sporting success.

It all sounds a little like The Boys from Brazil, but rather than use the athletes’ negative experiences for sinister purposes, Team GB instead harnessed indigenous talent to great effect. Whether than means we’ll top the medal table in 2020 is another matter, although after reading this superb book, you’ll believe sports scientists could give Team GB a chance of doing so.


<back to archive


MoneyMapp


SBOTM Current Top 10

Get It On: How the ?70s Rocked Football By Jon Spurling
Biteback
Read Review Buy Now
Time on Rock By Anna Fleming
Canongate
Read Review Buy Now
41-Love: A Memoir By Scarlett Thomas
Counterpoint
Read Review Buy Now
Anatomy of a Football Scout by Jon Cotterill
Camara Brasileira
Read Review Buy Now
Sweat: A History of Physical Exercise By Bill Hayes
Bloomsbury Sport
Read Review Buy Now
52 Ways to Walk By Annabel Streets
Bloomsbury Sport
Read Review Buy Now
Fit And Proper People By Martin Calladine & James Cave
Pitch Publishing
Read Review Buy Now
God is Dead The Rise & Fall of Frank Vandenbrouke By Andy McGrath
Bantam Books
Read Review Buy Now
Butler to the World How Britain Became the Servant of Oligarchs, Tax Dodgers, Kleptocrats and Criminals By Oliver Bullough
Profile Books
Read Review Buy Now
A Delicate Game Brain Injury, Sport and Sacrifice By Hana Walker-Brown
Hodder
Read Review Buy Now

© 2004-2022 Sharks Media Limited.