Showdown at Shepherd's Bush by David Davis
The 1908 Olympic Marathon and the Three Runners Who Launched a Sporting Craze

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The epic clash of an Irish-American, Italian, and Onondaga-Canadian that jump-started the first marathon mania and heralded the modern age in sports The eyes of the world watched as three runners—dirt poor Johnny Hayes, who used to run barefoot through the streets of New York City; candymaker Dorando Pietri; and the famed Tom Longboat—converged for an epic battle at the 1908 London Olympics. The incredible finish was contested the world over when Pietri, who initially ran the wrong way upon entering the stadium at Shepherd’s Bush, finished first but was disqualified for receiving aid from officials after collapsing just shy of the finish line, thus giving the title to runner-up Hayes. In the midst of anti-American sentiment, Queen Alexandra awarded a special cup to Pietri, who became an international celebrity and inspired one of Irving Berlin’s first songs. In Showdown at Shepherd's Bush, David Davis recalls a time when runners braved injurious roads with slips of leather for shoes and when marathon mania became a worldwide obsession. Standing next to Cait Murphy’s Crazy ’08 as an invaluable look at a bygone sporting era, Showdown at Shepherd's Bush is a dramatic narrative aimed at the recordsetting number of marathon participants in the United States (more than 500,000 in 2010!) and other running enthusiasts, and timed nicely for the return of the Olympics to London in 2012.

About David Davis

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DAVID DAVIS is a contributing writer at Los Angeles Magazine and a contributing editor for SportsLetter. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Smithsonian Magazine, The New York Times and The Best American Sports Writing anthology. He is the author of the forthcoming Showdown at Shepherd's Bush.
Published June 19, 2012 by Thomas Dunne Books. 321 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction

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He is assisted by the colorful characters of the athletes, Longboat in particular, and others, including United States Olympic Committee member James Sullivan, whose repeated claims of poor sportsmanship by the British hosts helped stir controversy and interest, and Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur...

May 31 2012 | Read Full Review of Showdown at Shepherd's Bush: ...

Christian Science Monitor

One of the most enduring photographic images from any Olympics is wobbly-legged Italian marathoner Dorando Pietri approaching the finish line with a various officials and British bobbies providing close escort.

Aug 09 2012 | Read Full Review of Showdown at Shepherd's Bush: ...

Washington Independent Review of Books

Long-distance runners have come a long way — pun unavoidable — since Johnny Hayes, Dorando Pietri and Tom Longboat dueled for fame and glory in the marathon at the 1908 Olympic Games in London.

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The Celebrity Cafe

He built an inside track at Madison Square Garden and promoted a showdown between Hayes and Pietri - now an international celebrity - to determine the true champion, and followed up with a series of derbies between Pietri and Longboat.

May 21 2012 | Read Full Review of Showdown at Shepherd's Bush: ...

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