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Tough Girl: An Olympian's Journey

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  55 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
After several failed swim lessons, young Carolyn Wood finally conquers her fears and dives into unknown waters in Tough Girl. By 1958 she has set a goal to make the 1960 Olympic team and, along with teammates and competitors, begins the arduous road to Rome. Losses, pain, fear, and fatigue accompany the rambunctious athlete as she finds her way through athletic training, s ...more
Paperback, 306 pages
Published September 25th 2016 by White Pine Press (NY)
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  • Tough Girl by Carolyn Wood
    Tough Girl: Lessons in Courage and Heart from Olympic Gold to the Camino de Santiago
    Release date: Aug 14, 2018
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    After several failed swim lessons, young Carolyn Wood finally co

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    Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Great Read All The Way Through

    I came into this book with zero expectations and ended up pleasantly surprised. This book had an amazing thoughtfulness and flow that kept me interested from beginning to end. I had the pleasure of taking English from Ms. Wood in 1999 and at the time she never mentioned any of her adventures in class. It's great 17 years later to see that she is as great a writer as she was a teacher. I probably wouldn't read as much today if it weren't for some of the literature th
    Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
    Recommends it for: memoir, gay and lesbian, sports
    Carolyn Wood, whom I knew in the olden days--my stepfather treated her mononucleosis--is fast on her feet and swims at the deep end.

    "On the way to France [walking the Camino de Santiago to the ninth century cathedral in Spain], I stop first in Louisville to visit my son, now a professional actor, where he's preparing for Long Day's Journey into Night, an apt title for what lies before me."

    She won a gold medal swimming in the 1960 Olympics. While at the Olympics, she read Battle Cry and On the
    Oct 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
    A deep reflection on the nature of self wrapped up in a thrilling edge-of-your-seat account of heartbreak and triumph at the 1960 Olympic games, I finished this book last week and I still can’t put it down! The drama of Wood’s incredible pursuit of a spot on the Olympic swim team, her grueling workouts, her intensity and drive, is interspersed with reflective chapters detailing her hike along the Camino de Santiago in 2012. Wood deftly works back and forth between these two extraordinary stories ...more
    Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
    I enjoyed this authentic memoir of a young swimmer growing up in the 50s who discovers the joy and accomplishment of success, who listens and hears the messages of guts and determination from coaches and mentors, and earns her place on the US Olympic Team after her freshman year in high school. It's not all glory, of course, and the era, time and place, plays a huge role in her story. The memoir is written 50 years later, when the echoes of those tough lessons come back to accompany the author o ...more
    Joni Taylor
    Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
    I think I am a really hard grader when it comes to ratings. For me, if I am able to walk away from a book, and not finish it like a bowl of ice cream, and read deep into the night, then I don't give a 5 star. But this one is great, even though it took me a bit longer to get through. As an athlete and a woman, I am so thankful for Ms. Wood's story, and pre Title IV accomplishments. This story alone is worth the read. But it goes deeper. Much. And her integrity and commitment to herself, and her h ...more
    May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: ourbookgroup-com
    I am inspired by the commitment and persistence required of both writers and athletes, so it was a special treat to meet author Carolyn Wood - an Olympic swimming champion at age 14 - and discuss her first book and memoir, "Tough Girl". Our book group hosted a lively discussion with Wood about her writing process and the Olympic journey. And, we got to touch an Olympic gold medal!

    Wood's intense training and focus in preparing for the 1960 Olympics - and the excitement of the competition - is th
    Fay Fawcett
    Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
    Fast moving, easy read. It is amazing what a person can do if they really put their mind to it. A young girls desire to go to the olympic's. Trials , errors and a gold metal.
    Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
    4.5 stars. I found this book by searching the New Releases at the library. What a great find.
    Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
    Carolyn Wood is going through a divorce and mourning the end of her relationship of 3 decades. She and her partner Rose spent almost 30 years together. As a way to come to terms with her grief and loss, she walks the Camino de Santiago. She also remembers her life as a swimmer who went to the 1960 Olympics in Rome.

    This book was an excellent read. Carolyn Wood does a beautiful job of writing about sports and her inner life without resorting to a single sports cliche.
    I was fascinated by her jour
    Vinnie Kinsella
    Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
    I should start with a disclaimer that I worked on this book (I designed the interior and did the ebook conversion) and know the author personally. Regardless, my love for the book is rooted in my relationship to it as a reader. Carolyn's tale of seeking to connect her adult self to the tough girl she was in her youth filled my eyes with tears more than once. We all know what it's like to find our lives upended by loss, wondering how to exist when something that in part defined us for so long is ...more
    Marilyn Zornado
    Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
    As someone who hates autobiographies, and who does not like sports; I have found Carolyn Wood's book to be a compelling story on many levels. While she traces her early years of training for the Olympics, we also move forward in time and learn about her challenges of coming out as lesbian at a time when the LGBT were treated as criminals. While I knew my friends faced discrimination, they hid from their peers the many indignities they suffered. Carolyn sheds light on these difficult times in a s ...more
    Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
    Excellent writing and a good tale of her journey as an athlete.
    Janet Montag
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    Dianne Rider
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    Jan 25, 2018
    Julie Weston
    Mar 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
    Tough Girl: An Olympian’s Journey is a thoughtful, soul-rewarding story by Carolyn Wood. Carolyn won a medal at the Rome Olympics in swimming when she was fourteen years old. Her story winds through her journey on the El Camino de Santiago in Spain as an adult where she went to search for and reclaim her teenage resilience after heartbreak and suffering. And tough she was! Swimming and training from her beginnings as being afraid to swim to get to the medal podium inspires the reader and probabl ...more
    Hannah Bliss
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    Jul 29, 2017
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    Carolyn Wood, born and raised in Portland, Oregon, became one of the youngest swimmers ever to win an Olympic gold medal. She is a retired high school English teacher who spent more than thirty years encouraging students to write and is now taking her own advice, although often she’d rather be practicing yoga, or outdoors tending her bees and garden or hiking backroads and mountain trails. Ms. Woo ...more
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