Sports stars are a unique breed of professional, a strange and sometimes contradictory mix of ambition, dedication, wealth, sacrifice and excess that they manage to express as athletic brilliance. The most successful – the fastest, the strongest, the most skilful – are so often the most compelling and the hardest to understand. What is it that sends them that bit further, that bit higher than their compatriots? Is it single-mindedness, or occassional madness? Relentless training, or a kind of God-given brilliance?
Simon Hattenstone has interviewed some of the world's leading sportsmen and women, from Serena Williams to Jenson Button, Paul Gascoigne to Mike Tyson. Sport Legends: Blood, Sweat and Brilliance captures 14 of the best interviews with a range of subjects from all sports – cricketers, footballers, rugby stars, boxers, snooker players are all here. Accompanied by a new essay by the author on the peculiar natures of our sporting heroes – and how they cope with their success – it is a read like no other.