Grigory Rodchenkov has won this year's William Hill Sports Book of the Year award, for his memoir The Rodchenkov Affair: How I Brought Down Putin’s Secret Doping Empire (W H Allen).
The former head of Russia’s national anti-doping laboratory has been in hiding since his participation in Bryan Fogel’s documentary "Icarus", in which he revealed the true extent of the Russian doping scandal. Rodchenkov’s memoir follows his childhood growing up under the Iron Curtain, charting his career with the Soviet Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) suspension of the Russian Anti-Doping Centre in 2015.
The news was announced on Thursday (3rd November) on radio station talkSPORT. Rodchenkov receives £30,000 and a leather-bound copy of his book.
Rodchenkov saw off a shortlist featuring Born Fighter by Ruqsana Begum (Simon & Schuster), The World Beneath Their Feet by Scott Ellsworth (John Murray Press), The Unforgiven by Ashley Gray (Pitch Publishing) and The Breath of Sadness: On Love, Grief & Cricket by Ian Ridley (Floodlit Dreams). Each shortlisted author will receive £3,000.
The judging panel for this year’s award consisted of former chairman of the Professional Footballer’s Association Clarke Carlisle; five-time Olympic medallist and rower Dame Katherine Grainger; broadcaster and writer John Inverdale; broadcaster Danny Kelly; journalist and broadcaster Mark Lawson, and author and journalist Alyson Rudd.
Rudd, who chaired the panel, said: "That this year produced a particularly strong shortlist was born out by the intense and passionate debate among the judging panel. The Rodchenkov Affair was praised for its searing honesty and bravery as Grigory Rodchenkov explains in gripping detail how he helped ensure Russian athletes who cheated through doping, escape detection. He is a whistleblower like few others, and he remains a 'ghost' living in America, separated from his family, the price he pays for wanting 'to be on the side of truth'."
Drummond Moir, deputy publisher at Ebury and editor of the book, said: "We’re thrilled that this unique book has received such a prestigious award. Grigory Rodchenkov’s memoir offers readers the full, unadulterated story that was first glimpsed in Bryan Fogel’s award-winning documentary "Icarus", in Grigory’s own voice and words. He’s created a breathtakingly candid memoir, one that takes the reader on a journey through a rigged system of flawed individuals, brazen deceit and impossible moral choices, where what begins as a sporting controversy escalates into a geopolitical earthquake. It feels fitting that The Rodchenkov Affair—forged in clandestine circumstances, by an author in total seclusion, published during a year of lockdowns—is now finally getting the attention it deserves."
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