Great Britain’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medallist takes readers on entertaining and informative ride in highly accessible new book; Shriever’s co-author Sarah Juggins wrote ‘The History Makers’ about GB’s Rio gold medal-winning women’s hockey team…
Long-serving SJA committee member Sarah Juggins is probably best known for her two splendid works on women’s hockey.
However, her new book – ‘The Power of Belief: The Beth Shriever Story’ – is all about Britain’s first Olympic BMX gold medallist.
In its way, the very fact that this has even found itself in print is one of the more intangible legacies of London 2012 and even 20 years ago, it’s fair to say the biography of a female BMX rider would probably never have seen the light of day.
For one thing, BMX was very much the new kid on the Olympic block, introduced only at Beijing 2008. For another, books about sportswomen weren’t exactly straining the bookshelves.
‘The Power of Belief’ is told in the first person by Beth, with contributions by mum Kate, dad Paul, and boyfriend Brynley Savage, all skilfully collated by Juggins.
There are also chapters by Tokyo silver medallist Kye Whyte and long-time BMX friend and World bronze medallist Blaine Ridge-Davis, coach Marcus Bloomfield and strength conditioning coach Dan McPartlan. Part autobiography yes, but also a ‘how to’ book for the next generation.
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It is a sign of the times that there’s a chapter on the impact of COVID-19.
There is also a section called ‘Learning To Talk It Through’, and a substantial chapter from the man who by Shriever’s own admission, “changed my life and perspective” – British Cycling psychologist Richard Hampson.
“What I hope sharing my experiences will achieve is to reach out to that young kid who just wants to see what they can do, how high they can fly if they put their heart and soul into something,” says Beth.
Younger readers will also find some useful advice in a chapter entitled ‘Eating For Success’, which it should be noted includes a handy recipe with instructions for a katsu curry. A hint perhaps to the producers of Masterchef?
There are plenty of illustrations throughout, many from the family album, some framed by tyre tracks as part of an overall design theme, and of course, many from the golden moments in Tokyo when Shriever earned the right to be called Olympic champion.
The book concludes with a chapter called ‘The Lure of the Little Bike’. In many respects, this might also have been called everything you wanted to know about BMX; it describes step-by-step how to get into the sport and how to train, both in the saddle and away from the track.
So much more attention is paid to women’s sport than ever before, thanks in major part to the effort of Juggins and others like her.
‘The Power of Belief: The Beth Shriever Story’ is available to buy now from Pitch Publishing.
For more information on Sarah Juggins and her work, visit her website.