It's Not the Winning That Counts

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More About This Title It's Not the Winning That Counts


An homage to the greatest moments of sporting chivalry—from round-the-world yachtsmen to National Hunt jockeys, via golfers, tennis players, and runners

 From Ancient Greece to the Beijing Olympics, sport has delivered thrilling victories and gut-wrenching defeats, but moments of good sportsmanship are increasingly rare. Is chivalry dead? Or have rumors of its demise been exaggerated? Whether displayed by an Australian sculler or an Egyptian judoka, sportsmanship has come in many guises. This collection celebrates the Boy's Own heroism of yachtsman Pete Goss's mercy dash across the Southern Ocean to rescue a capsized French rival; recalls the high ideals of the gentleman-amateurs of the Corinthian Football Club; salutes Freddie Flintoff, hero of the 2005 Ashes, commiserating with an opponent before celebrating with teammates; and takes its hat off to Jack Nicklaus, conceding a two-foot putt on the final green of the 1969 Ryder Cup.


Max Davidson is a novelist, critic, and journalist. He is also a life-long armchair sports fan, with the passion and argumentativeness of the breed.


"Almost impossible to read this book without wiping away a manly tear. A joy—a simple but brilliant idea executed with great skill and judgement."  —Daily Mail

"A splendid narrative. Take along Max Davidson’s charming book next time you go to a sporting event. I guarantee it will warm you on the wettest day and in the chilliest stadium."  —Mail on Sunday"Sports fans will be delighted . . . elegant and erudite, strikes a blow for the idea that sport can elevate human character."  —Sunday Telegraph