"You might say that the provision of heroes is the basic point of sport. If sport didn't provide heroes, sport wouldn't command our imaginations..." Everyone's lives will, at some time, have been touched by a moment of sporting heroism. Whether it was Ellen MacArthur's triumphant finish off the French coast in 2005, or Bobby Charlton's long-range goal that transformed England's fortunes against Mexico in 1966, we have all witnessed heroic acts - or indeed moments of epic failure and pain - that have changed our mortal world, and have lifted us, even if only briefly, out of ourselves. In this gripping new book, Simon Barnes brings together his 50 sporting heroes of the last 50 years and looks at what it is that elevates them to a state of grace and greatness. The world of sport is of course filled with record breakers and medal winners, individuals who have in their way excelled. What Barnes does here is to identify that extra element, that special alchemy that sets these 40 men, 7 women (and 3 horses) apart and places them in their own race - the race of heroes.
Simon Barnes is the multi-award-winning chief sportswriter for The Times. He is also a novelist, nature writer and horseman, and the author of a dozen books, including the bestselling How to be a Bad Birdwatcher and The Meaning of Sport (Short Books). He lives in Suffolk with his family.