By Bill Jones
One winter's evening in 1976, over 20 million humans in Britain watched John Curry skate to Olympic glory on an ice rink in Austria. Many hundreds of thousands extra watched all over the world. in a single day he turned essentially the most well-known males on the earth. He used to be provided the OBE. He was once selected as BBC activities character of the Year.
Curry had replaced ice skating from marginal game to excessive paintings. And but the guy was once — and could consistently stay — an absolute secret to an international that were dazzled through his reward. absolutely, men's skating used to be speculated to be Cossack-muscular, now not sensual and ambiguous like this.
Curry himself was once an often-tortured guy of labyrinthine complexity. For the 1st time, on my own untangles the extreme net of his poisonous, afflicted, magnificent — and brief — lifestyles. it's a tale of adolescence nightmares, livid ambition, wearing genius, lifelong rivalries, homophobia, chilly warfare politics, financial disaster and deep own tragedy. on my own unearths the stressed, impatient, usually darkish soul of a guy whose phrases might lacerate, whose skating continually moved audiences to tears, and who — after succumbing to AIDS, as such a lot of of his fellow artists and associates did — died of a middle assault elderly simply forty four.
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Extra resources for Alone: The Triumph and Tragedy of John Curry
Just get the ball back over the net and let the other bloke make the mistakes,’ Charlie would say. More games were won by simply getting that ball back over the net than by fancy, risky shots that might win a match but also cost you one. By getting your serve in and hitting your volley deep, by relentlessly returning your opponent’s best shots, keeping the ball in play, you wear him down physically and mentally. He encouraged me to put top spin on my forehand and backhand. ’ Top spin enabled me to hit my ground strokes hard but not too deep to a general area.
Rod will be the best of the boys,’ he told Dad. ‘I’ll coach him for nothing, even if he is a midget in need of a good feed. He’s got the eye of a hawk. I believe we can make a champion out of him. And something else, Roy – Trevor and Bob, they’re like you. Quick-tempered. They blow up too fast. Rodney is more easygoing, a bit shy and self-effacing, like his mother. ’ 13 ROD LAVER Charlie Hollis taught me many things that he believed a budding tennis player had to know. One of the most important was not to grow complacent and compose eulogies to myself when I was ahead in a set, but to ruthlessly inflict the heaviest possible defeat on my opponent.
In the four years that he coached me, from age 10 to 14, Charlie Hollis made me believe that if I continued to apply myself I could be a champion tennis player. At school I even 19 ROD LAVER wrote a highly imaginative essay about the day I was selected to play for Australia in the Davis Cup. Thanks to him, I could beat most boys in Queensland my age or a bit older, and was now regarded as the best of the Laver brothers. Bob begged to differ, and he fed me a dose of hard reality by beating me in the final of the North Queensland Junior Under-16 Championships.