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As Good As Gold: 1 Woman, 9 Sports, 10 Countries and a a 2-Year Quest to Make the Summer Olympics

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  88 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Imagine George Plimpton. Except with real athletic ability. And he’s a woman. And she’s taken on a challenge that makes Paper Lion look like a brisk game of Go Fish.

Meet Kathryn Bertine, elite triathlete, former professional figure skater, and starving artist. Just as her personal and professional dreams begin to crumble in the summer of 2006, ESPN stakes her to a dream: T
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 4th 2010 by ESPN (first published January 1st 2010)
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I don't understand why this book is so unknown. I LOVED it. Yes, from a certain perspective the story falls into the same category as The Happiness Project or Not Eating Out in New York: a woman chooses a particular challenge to "better herself" and sets out for a year to do so. The comparison ends there. Part madcap antics through a variety of Olympic sports, part following her dreams in spite of nearly impossible odds to become an elite cyclist, Kathryn Bertine alternates between wit, personal ...more
One of the most inspirational books I have ever read. Captures the mindset and struggles of athletes that anyone can relate to, Olympian and above-average. Easy reading, great prose, and I feel like she was writing about me. I cannot recommend it enough.
Bertine was older than your average Olympic hopeful trying out a new sport when she set out to qualify for the 2008 summer Olympics, but she had an advantage. A couple of them, actually. One, her two-year attempt was funded by ESPN; she wrote articles throughout the process but didn't have to, say, wait tables.

The idea that I could be an athlete and a journalist seems to confuse people. An athlete who works in a coffee shop while trying to get to the Olympics is rarely considered to be a barista
David Peters
Have you ever watched the Olympics, or any top level sporting event for that matter, and thought to yourself “I could totally do that.” The Editors at ESPN wondered the same thing and went to find a test subject. What makes this whole experience more humbling is Kathryn Bertine was no couch potato, she was a formidable athlete in her own right. National class ice skater in her youth, college rower in her early twenties, and an elite triathlete as an adult. Could she do it in 2 years?

What follows
While most of the population has Walter Mitty daydreams of Olympic glory, Kathryn Bertine has the talent and determination to make her dream a reality. She also has the inner drive to pursue it with every ounce of her being, and the luck to have ESPN bankroll her documentation of it all. The reality is, lucky us, for she took us along with her.

I appreciate her narrative style, and the introduction of other Olympic-caliber athletes that gut it out in crap conditions merely because they love it.
I first saw Kathryn Bertine's writing when she was doing a series of columns on about trying to become an Olympian. This book is the results of her attempt, beginning in 2006, to qualify for the Beijing Summer Olympics.

Like probably 90% of everyone who knows about them, Bertine's goal was to find a sport where she could compete in the summer Olympics. Unlike the rest of us dreamers, though, she was an elite triathlete when she started. So, she had a leg up in trying to learn a sport and
I don't normally read much in the realm of either sports or autobiography, but after stumbling across some of this author's columns on ESPN, I decided to read this book. I'm glad I did. The author predominantly maintains a humorous voice while detailing a very unusual experience: being contracted by ESPN as a good athlete and writer to attempt to qualify for an Olympic sport in two years. Katherine attends training camps and evaluation procedures in a variety of sports, before settling on her be ...more
A hilarious book. Bertrine, a former figure skater and professional triathlete, as well as a columnist for ESPN, is given a two-year challenge by the network to qualify for the olympics in any sport. She leaves no stone unturned, or sport untested, in her attempt to qualify. Critics fault Bertrine for the wide net she casts, trying sports like handball and luge which she has no experience in or hopes to master. I won't go any further into the plot of her story, but feel that Bertrine's critics a ...more
Jul 28, 2012 josh rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to josh by: found it in the store
i loved this book. everything about it. kathryn is an amazing woman, chasing her dreams through an array of sports around the world while endeavoring on this quest sponsored by ESPN - which gave her what was most likely her best chance to be an olympian.

her writing style is interesting and engaging. the talent she has as a writer are nearly equal to her skills as a professional athlete.

as i progressed through this book i swear i could feel her pain, the disappointment she felt at not making the
Although the title refers to Kathryn Bertine's journey to make it to the Olympics, the title is quite fitting, for the book itself is a gem. As Good as Gold brings the reader on a journey from average (or very good) athlete to Olympic Hopeful. It reminded me that most dreams are worth the time, effort and dedication it might take to get to their destination. As a woman in my thirties, it was wonderful to read about the athletic pursuits of a member of my own generation. Bertine’s writing style i ...more
A professional triathlete, Bertine sets out to qualify for the 2008 Summer Olympics in any sport. A very fun and educational read - you get to learn all about the intricacies of team handball and modern pentathlon! Bertine strikes a great balance between having a sense of humor about her undertakings and exploring the emotional side of being an athlete. During her quest, she was chronicling her adventures as a column for, and it reads a bit like that. Overall, loved it and have already ...more
Katherine chronicals her quest to become a member of an Olympic team, any team in a very funny and witty style. Katherine is not just a wannabe athlete, but she is already a professional athlete who tries to find a sport that will give her a shot at the Olympics. She tries a number of lesser known sports and discovers that there isn't a sport in the Olympics that is easy.

I learned a lot about the Olympics and a lot about the dedication of Olympic athletes.
Amy Moritz
I absolutely loved this book! She has an engaging, witty style yet takes her Olympic quest seriously. I may someday make it to the Olympics as a spectator, but her desire to be an Olympian struck a cord with me. Her take on "failure" and on on "sacrifice" I find particularly interesting and inspiring. The road to being an elite athlete isn't easy, and she details that, but what she brings out is that what matters most in life is following your passion.
Aja Marsh
I enjoyed getting an inside peek into some "fringe" sports and how and what it takes to get into the Olympics. Her writing style was entertaining, and a really fun read for anyone who has ever had any desire to go to the Olympics. Would recommend to all of my athlete friends!
I loved it! Her take on being an athlete is funny, self-depricating, inspiring, and eye opening. A few spots I skipped through but I'm looking forward to reading again to jot down her little sayings! Oh and her take on sports bras is absolutely spot on! :)
Wendy Coulter
This book is a great one for remembering that what we dream, we can do........though our dreams often end differently in reality. Funny, smart, and engaging. Kathryn is a natural at writing.
Bea Bolinger
Where's the sequel. Funny and inspiring. I'm going to read her first book now and see what else Bertine has been up to. Well researched, insightful and a pleasure to read, I recommend it.
Great read! As someone who always wanted to be in the Olympics, this book takes you through Kathryn Bertine's journey to do just that. It is funny and definitely motivating.
Great story, fun and inspirational but the writing leaves a lot to be desired. I will say that this book got me motivated to get out and go for a run though!
Jul 08, 2010 Elisabeth marked it as to-read
Loved her articles on and can't wait to read the book!
This book gives you an appreciation of sports that seem easy.
Holly - Add this to your list. A cyclist from Tucson. :)
So amazingly funny!!
Great fun book to read. Kathryn is living a lot of our dreams. So many people want to strive to be the best in their sports, but sometimes circumstances don't allow them to pursue them. She wants to make the Olympics and tries to find her sport. This started as a series of ESPN articles and then she wrote this. She keeps your well informed of her progress on her Facebook page. A real inspiration and a seemingly genuine person.
Highly motivating.
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Apr 01, 2015
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Dana Armstrong
Dana Armstrong marked it as to-read
Mar 05, 2015
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Kathryn Bertine is in her 6th year of road cycling, and is a three-time national champion of St. Kitts and Nevis (SKN) and professional cyclist for Team Colavita/Fine Cooking. She has garnered two top 10 and six top 20 UCI finishes, and has competed at five world championships. A native of Bronxville, NY she lives and trains in Tucson, AZ with her husband, George Varhola.

She holds a BA from Colga
More about Kathryn Bertine...
All the Sundays Yet to Come: A Skater's Journey The Road Less Taken: Lessons from a Life Spent Cycling So You Wanna Be an Olympian?: One Woman, Twenty-Six Sports, and 800 Days to Fulfill a Lifelong Dream

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