Colin Jackson's stature as one of the most celebrated of British athletes is assured; those who have watched his astonishing performances have marvelled at the sprint hurdler's effortless agility and breathtaking speed. With 25 major championship medals under his belt, there is little doubt that he is the most considerable athlete his particular sport has ever known. Colin Jackson: The Autobiography has arrived at a significant moment, just after the athlete announced his retirement after 20 years of top-level competition. As readers of sports autobiographies know to their cost, such books can be by-rote, self-congratulatory accounts of sporting successes, but this is something different. While Jackson discusses such career bests as his breaking of the World Outdoor 110 metres record in Stuttgart in the 1990s, he is also prepared to talk about the bleak moments, such as his less-than-impressive showing at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics after an injury KO'd his chances. And Jackson's life has much more to it than sport: there are affecting passages here on the unexpected death of his fellow athlete Ross Baillie and his acrimonious break-up with friend and business partner Linford Christie. But it is writing about his sport that Jackson (aided by top sports journalist David Conn) really excels at: he makes it clear the nothing less than total dedication is involved in being a winner, and he is unsparing about the consequences of drugs. There is an unvarnished account, too, of the corruption Jackson has encountered in the sports business over the years. This is one of the most impressive of sports autobiographies written.
Condition: Very Good
Goodreads rating: 3/5