Uncommon Champions: Fifteen Athletes Who Battled Back

Uncommon Champions: Fifteen Athletes Who Battled Back

by Marty Kaminsky
     
 

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These fifteen motivating stories prove that integrity and honor are not entirely missing from the playing fields. Readers will share the excitement as blind mountain climber Erik Weihenmayer scales the heights of Mount McKinley; as sprinter Gail Devers returns from a life-threatening illness to defend her Olympic title . . . and more. Despite facing incredible

Overview


These fifteen motivating stories prove that integrity and honor are not entirely missing from the playing fields. Readers will share the excitement as blind mountain climber Erik Weihenmayer scales the heights of Mount McKinley; as sprinter Gail Devers returns from a life-threatening illness to defend her Olympic title . . . and more. Despite facing incredible adversity, each of these stars found the heart and stamina to persevere.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
The concept of this book is compelling. Here are the stories of fifteen athletes who not only accomplished extraordinary feats in the world of sports-difficult enough to do by itself-but who did so while also overcoming extreme limitations. Greg LeMond conquered a debilitating shotgun wound and his sponsors' doubts to win the Tour de France. Gail Devers became a world-class track athlete despite battling Graves disease. Mansour Bahrami became a talented tennis player despite poverty and the prejudice of his native country. The lives of these athletes are worth hearing. For the most part, the stories are told well. The events of their lives are laid out clearly and succinctly and without sentimentality. The types of challenges facing these individuals are varied and many will find the stories inspiring. Still, this book does not go far enough to do full justice to the lives it presents. Too often, the narrative falls back on cliches when it attempts to describe the way these uncommon champions approached their challenges. Rather than reading that an athlete "rolled up his sleeves and worked harder," it would be even more interesting to know just what he managed to do. As intriguing as these accomplishments are, it would be more helpful to get inside the minds of the people who achieved them. 2003 (orig. 2000), Boyds Mills Press, Ages 12 up.
— Barbara Allen Burke
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-A collection of 15 short essays on athletes who have overcome various physical, mental, and socioeconomic difficulties to excel in their chosen sports. While some situations are more familiar and contemporary (runner Gail Devers's battle with Graves disease and professional soccer player Michelle Akers's Epstein-Barr virus), most will be unknown to young readers. These include Ruben Gonzalez's rise from an impoverished childhood in gang-ridden Spanish Harlem to racquetball champion and 1980's basketball star John Lucas's battle with drugs. The more obscure entries bring forward many brave stories that deserve to be told. Unfortunately, the many weaknesses of this book outweigh its strengths. Factual errors include identifying the ruins at Machu Picchu as Mayan rather than Incan, and referring to Akers as "Mustafa" instead of the correct Lion King reference of "Mufasa." The writing shifts between sappy and simplistic; there are fictionalized conversations; and only about half of the entries rate a single photograph. Worse, there is no bibliography or any indication of sources.-Andrew Medlar, Chicago Public Library, IL Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590780053
Publisher:
Highlights Press
Publication date:
10/03/2004
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
152
Sales rank:
111,603
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)
Lexile:
1090L (what's this?)
Age Range:
11 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Marty Kaminsky has written for many publications, including Sports Illustrated, Highlights for Children, Parenting, Disney Adventures, and more. He teaches fourth grade in Ithaca, New York.

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