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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Best of the Year, Part 1

The Superfan's picks for the best for a track fan...

Best in "print" journalism: SI's Tim Layden. He wrote daily at both the USA and World championships plus a few other times. He really gets what track is all about and also has a firm grip on sports' drug problem.

Best in video format: The Worlds coverage by Versus/NBC. Two hours daily, with a minimum of the fluff that drives us all nuts. They also appear ready to cut the abominable Carol Lewis free in favor of Ato Boldon, the best on-air talent to cover track in quite some time. This bodes very well for the coming year of the Trials and Olympics.

Best book: Jeremy Schaap's Triumph got good press coverage. It's a good book but the true fan learns little he didn't already know. Tommie Smith's Silent Gesture has a cool cover photo and that's where it ends.

No, the best book of the year was C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America. It covers the not-quite-famous 1928 Transcontinental Foot Race (aka the "Bunion Derby") and the myriad cast of characters involved. Far and away the most fascinating was the race's promoter, C.C. Pyle, who might be described as a combination of Arli$$, P.T. Barnum, and Don King--colorful, entertaining, and totally untrustworthy; he could be considered the architect of today's big-money sports machines. It's a bit out-of-the-way, but most bookstores have it and a bigger library might have a copy. You won't put it down.

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