Cover image for The second mark : courage, corruption, and the battle for Olympic gold
The second mark : courage, corruption, and the battle for Olympic gold
Goodwin, Joy.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, [2004]

Physical Description:
x, 333 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm
Reading Level:
1020 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 7.4 23.0 86238.

Reading Counts RC High School 7.1 28 Quiz: 36235 Guided reading level: NR.
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV850.A2 G65 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
GV850.A2 G65 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Exhaustively researched by a skating insider, this book details the dramatic behind-the-scenes story of the controversial 2002 Olympic pair skating competition and the scandal that made front-page headlines around the world.

Author Notes

Joy Goodwin is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. Since 1999, she has covered figure skating for ABC Sports. She holds a master's degree in public policy from Harvard University She lives in New York City.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Pairs figure skating is one of the most popular events on the Olympic agenda. Goodwin, a veteran Emmy-winning producer for ABC Sports, takes readers behind the scenes of the controversial 2002 Olympic pairs competition, which was tainted by a judging scandal. She exposes the quid-pro-quo system that has ruled world-class skating for many decades, and in the end, the whole affair seems as pathetic and embarrassing as a brokered prom-queen election--except the stakes are much higher: a lifetime of work just to make it to the Olympics wasted by petty deal making among dilettante judges. What is most memorable here are Goodwin's portraits of the three skating pairs affected by the scandal: the Canadians, the Chinese, and the Russians. By focusing her story on these six fascinating individuals, Goodwin turns what might have been just another recounting of corruption in athletics into a gripping potboiler with three engaging plot lines leading to a dramatic finale. Entertaining and enlightening reading. --Wes Lukowsky Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

When French judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne confessed to under-scoring a pair of Canadian figure-skaters as part of a quid pro quo deal that her country made with Russia during the 2002 Winter Olympics, she sparked the most explosive headlines the sport of ice-skating had seen since the Harding-Kerrigan fiasco. The event was extensively reported in the U.S. media, but in her first book Goodwin provides the most comprehensively researched and well told account of it so far. An Emmy Award-winning writer and producer who covers figure skating for ABC, Goodwin has used her access to athletes, judges and coaches to provide readers with a backstage view of the scandal. She chronicles the private moments of the three skating couples involved in the controversy-Russians Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze; Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier; and Chinese Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo-following them from their humble beginnings on the frozen lakes of the Northern Caucasus, the training centers of rural Quebec and the frigid outdoor rinks of industrial Harbin. Although Goodwin covers all the ins and outs of the French-Russian bargain, her research allows her to go beyond the judging scandal to include the stories of how Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze were villainized by the U.S. press; how Shen's father was impoverished by the see-sawing internal politics of China and how Pelletier turned down his first opportunity to be Sale's skating partner. The 2002 competition showcased "the greatest collection of talent ever assembled on a single night in pair skating," Goodwin writes. Her book lets readers see it from all the angles.16 pages of b&w photos (Mar. 8) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal Review

Goodwin has written a fascinating account of the fixed judging of the 2002 Olympic pairs skating event in Salt Lake City. Focusing on the second set of judges' marks (given for artistry), the book outlines the details of the secret trade-off between French and Russian officials to place the Russian pair skaters and the French ice dancers first in their respective events. But this is more than an expose; it is a rich collective biography of all six skaters in the top three competing pairs-from Russia, China, and Canada. Goodwin contrasts their training techniques, home lives, and the deeply different attitudes toward sports in these three nations. Goodwin has obviously interviewed these skaters at great length, and she has communicated with sympathy and drama their personal responses to the life of elite athletic training. The result is a powerful and valuable book about high-profile athletes and how they live their daily lives within very different, and often difficult, circumstances. For all public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/03.]-Bonnie Collier, Yale Law Lib., New Haven, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-Goodwin's book grew out of the judging scandal that marred the 2002 Winter Olympics. Her focus is pair figure skating, and the controversy generated by the scoring of the "second mark," the one awarded for artistic presentation. Using artistry as her starting point, the author traces the careers of the six athletes vying for Olympic gold that year, the Chinese, Russian, and Canadian pairs. Looking at the differing environments that produced these champions, she depicts and contrasts each skater's background, training, and level and type of national support received. She explains how the countries, via their coaches, differed both in their approach to the sport and in their interpretation of artistic expression. Drawing from a year and a half of interviews with the athletes, their families, and coaches, Goodwin presents an honest and intimate portrait of the skaters, describing the physical, emotional, and financial sacrifices made in their quest for Olympic honors. The author is a good storyteller, able to evoke a range of emotions from sympathy and admiration to incredulity and suspense. What will linger long after the reading, however, is her effective personification of "courage" and "corruption" and how the perfidy of several of the adults involved contrasted with the integrity of the young athletes who, under pressure, displayed a grace beyond their years.-Dori DeSpain, Fairfax County Public Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Note on Names, Places, and Pronunciationp. ix
Prologuep. 1
Part 1 The Partnersp. 27
Part 2 The Arenap. 167
Epiloguep. 281
Notesp. 305
Acknowledgmentsp. 317
Indexp. 319