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  1. #1

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    Has anyone read The Second Mark by Joy Goodwin

    and if so did you think it was good? Just saw it browsing in a library.

  2. #2
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    It's worth the read for the early history of Shen/Zhao alone.
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

  3. #3

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    I loved it and loaned it to friends who are not skating fans. They loved it as well, especially Shen and Zhao's story.

  4. #4

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    The main reason I thought of getting it after looking through it was for the parts on Shen and Zhou so I will get it. Thanks.

  5. #5

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    Yeah the S/Z part is definitely the best part of the book and certainly the most researched. Don't remember anything else being too special but it was nice to read a skating book of any kind that was exclusively about pair teams.

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    I enjoyed the background on Shen and Zhao and Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze. Hope you enjoy the book!
    "Liking this sport is ridiculous, so you’re a little different for liking it, she explained. But you’re allowed to like what you like." - Robert Samuels

  7. #7

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    I collect skating books and it's definitely a good read. Agree that the best of it is Shen/Zhao.

  8. #8
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    I read it a few years back and would recommend it. As others have said, the background info on the pairs is very interesting.

  9. #9
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    I would recommend it too.

  10. #10
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    By far the best book on skating I've ever read.

  11. #11

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    Excellent book - I found myself rewatching the event and appreciating it much more

    The Shen/Zhao section is superb. You get a strong sense of the sacrifices that they and all athletes and coaches make, basically living like monks, in dorms. And a v. good account of how far the Chinese skaters have come since the earl 80s.

    I also liked the fair play aspect, how the author gave a good account of how hard a road it was for the Canadians in their long careers (seperately and together) - they persevered far longer than most athletes, hoping against hope that there was a perfect match for them.

    The background on the Russians, the drama of Elena's injury, is told, too - along with the genesis of the team's elegant free skate. I really envy the author, getting so much time with these legendary coaches, learning about their training methods, just getting to watch their students at work.

  12. #12
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    I liked it--you basically come out wishing all the skaters could win (and post-Vancouver the ending is even better, because really, I think Shen/Zhao come across best and the ending of the book is about them.)

    You also can really appreciate how much Sale and Pelletier's families gave up for them (and that winters in Quebec would SUCK, though now I really want to take that trail ride vacation "The Inns of the Gaspesie.") And all the coaches in the book come across well.

    I warn you, you will also want to hunt down Elena Berezhnaya's ex-partner Shliakov and beat him with a crowbar. But not in the head, because if he passed out he wouldn't feel it.

  13. #13
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    I like how the book gives some real insight to all 3 camps and their totally different views and perspectives all at once, and the unique pathes each took.

  14. #14
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    As a huge pairs skating fan, I would definitely recommend this book, even to people who know nothing about figure skating. Very interesting read and also very enlightening about these athletes, their coaches, and the sport in general

  15. #15

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    Well, I found the book to be sort of a mixed bag. I loved the stories of all three pairs teams and grew to really respect what athletes must go through to reach this level. S&Z's and Elena Berezhnaya's stories were especially gut wrenching reads.

    Stylisitically, I found Goodwin's prose a bit thick at times. For example, I remember a passage with her describing Marie Reigne LeGougne along the lines of "As a typical Frenchwoman , she treats every event as an occasion, and has long red hair that she curls extravagantly over her shoulders" .
    I was seriously at that.
    I found her treatment of the politics part of the book to be a bit too uneven. I wished she had made more of an explaination of the judging criteria , or had gone into some of the explanations that the panel in SLC (both sides) had given after the fact. Instead, it consisted mainly of inconclusive anecdotes, and continuous regurgitations of the fact that the ISU never really followed through with investigating anything that might have taken place off ice.

    All in all however, it was a decent read, I thoroughly recommend it.

  16. #16

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    I basically agree with what has already been posted - The Second Mark is pretty good, the background on what the SLC pairs had been through to get to that point in their careers was very interesting, and the section on Shen and Zhao is the best one (the pictures of Xue and Hongbo as kids were extremely cute). I do agree with escaflowne9282 that Goodwin kind of dropped the ball on the political part; it seemed rather rushed and not as well-researched.

    I also have to say that there seemed to be some factual errors, and it kind of made me wonder how accurate other parts were. But it's certainly worth reading; I don't think anyone else had as much access to the parties involved.

  17. #17

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    Forgot to mention that I re-read the book right after Shen & Zhao won Olympic gold -- it was really fun to read their story again knowing that the best was yet to come for them.
    "Liking this sport is ridiculous, so you’re a little different for liking it, she explained. But you’re allowed to like what you like." - Robert Samuels

  18. #18
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    Zemgirl, can you elaborate on what the factual errors were?

  19. #19

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    To be honest, I don't remember specific things, but I do recall coming across mistakes with regard to things like ages and timelines - so not major points, maybe, but the effect created was kind of sloppy. Goodwin clearly had a lot of source material and mistakes were bound to be made; it just made me wonder if there were other errors that I didn't catch.

  20. #20
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    I read it when it first came out, and knowing only S&P's story, it was enlightening to hear the history of all three teams. I, too, remember remarking factual errors based on what I knew of S&P (can't remember specifics right now) that led me to believe there could also be factual errors about the other teams (not that I'd know any better). It does take away a little from the apparently "well researched" book, but the errors were definitely not significant enough to discredit the whole thing. I really should read it again sometime... though I lent my copy to family and don't think I have it back...

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