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Sunday, 6 May 2012

Cycling for Gold by Owen Slot

Cycling for Gold

Sam has discovered a talent no-one knew he had . . .

Sam is the fastest boy on his paper delivery round - and under suspicion for being too speedy.
But when Sam's boss spots his talent for cycling, he also sees an opportunity.
And so years of rigorous training begin as Sam prepares to race in the Olympic Velodrome. Can Sam handle the expectation, now his skills have been recognised?

From an award-winning chief sports reporter for The Times. Owen will be reporting on the Olympics for The Times, lending even more authority as the author of this series in the lead-up to the Games.
In addition to the success of Team GB's cyclists, the Velodrome is one of the most iconic Olympic buildings for London 2012. Cycling for Gold features non-fiction facts and figures woven into an inspiring fictional story.

I have previously reviewed Owen Slot's previous book based upon an Olympic hopeful, Running for Gold, and this is his second book which is based around a young boy who shows the talent to represent Great Britain in the Olympic Games.

The story follows the life of Sam, who has a paper round at a local newsagents. He begins to compete against one of the other paperboys as to who can complete their round first. However this soon stops when the owner finds one of them are cheating and he sacks them both. When Sam manages to get his job back, the owner is still suspicious when Sam does both rounds in a very quick time -  he follows him one day and is astounded by what he witnesses! He sets about helping Sam to work harder and to achieve the Olympic dream along with The Professor!

I really enjoyed this book. Although I do not actively follow the sport of cycling and would be unable to name any famous cyclist besides Chris Hoy and Lance Armstrong, I was able to enjoy the story and follow the sport's basic techniques.

The story is inspirational and would be a great read for any child with ambitions to represent the country at a top level in sports. There are many times during the story that Sam faces obstacles in his wish to represent Great Britain. There is a character in the story who has his hopes dashed when he has an accident., which Sam is involved in, however his respect for Sam remains the same and he supports Sam in his dream.
There is another character in the book who I found interesting, Chen is a member of the Chinese cycling team however he has immense pressure put upon him due to the politics in his home country - this is something which is very rarely touched upon in children's/young adults books and I think this added something to the story.

There is lots of additional information within this book for cyclist enthusiasts: there are cycling final statistics, focusing on Keirin Olympic Champions (a sport I had not heard of until I read the book) along with regular cycling records. The book also remembers some of Great Britain's famous Olympic medallists.

I think this is a great book for anyone who dreams of representing Great Britain in a sporting event or as an introduction to children about the effort and dedication needed to excel in any sport.

Thank you to the publishers, Puffin Books, for sending me the book to review.

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