A Time to Jump: The authorised biography of Jonathan Edwards

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9780002740319: A Time to Jump: The authorised biography of Jonathan Edwards

The extraordinary story of one of Britain’s sporting heroes who combined outstanding talent with his spiritual beliefs, to become an athlete of worldwide acclaim.

To be released during the build up to the Sydney Olympics in 2000, in which Edwards aims to capture the gold medal which eluded him in Atlanta.

Jonathan Edwards became an instant celebrity when he broke a 10 year old world record for the triple jump at Gothenburg in 1995. A world champion, he became BBC Sports Personality of the Year and found himself very much in the public eye.

A Time to Jump charts his struggle to reach the top in his sporting career, but is also more than just another tale from the locker room. At the core of Edwards’ life has been his Christian faith. He became known as the athlete who refused to compete on Sundays, a decision which led him to miss the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo. He later reversed this decision as he came to believe that he had been given a gift and it was his responsibility to use it.

For Jonathan Edwards the athletics track has provided a platform for his evangelism, but also a devastating test of his faith. In 1992 he travelled to Barcelona with real hope of winning a medal. Instead he crashed out in the qualifying round, leaving him to question his future and his faith. He fought back from illness in 1995 to achieve his remarkable world record, but had to take the silver medal instead of the gold in Atlanta.

As he prepares for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Edwards reflects here with candour and warmth over his sporting and spiritual journey this far, and on the battle that lies ahead.

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Review:

Jonathan Edwards is one of the most famous athletes Britain has ever produced and ranks alongside such greats as Daley Thompson, Linford Christie and Sebastian Coe in the esteem of the country's sports fans.

Edwards won the heart of a nation when he shattered the world triple jump record, which had stood unsurpassed for 10 years, at Gothenburg in 1995. He was subsequently voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year by the British public.

His achievements have made his a household name and brought him fortune which he had never coveted or dreamed of.

But Edwards' life has not been all about making money and breaking records--at the centre of his belief system is Edwards' Christian faith. The son of an Anglican vicar and a devout follower of Christianity, Edwards for a time refused to jump on Sundays.

Although he later reversed his decision and used his God-given talent on the Sabbath, it typifies the way the athlete had led his life; his faith, his wife and his children are the most important things to him.

This book offers a unique insight into Edwards' life and delves into the aspects of his personality with which he has inwardly struggled.

His journey to the summit of his chosen discipline was long and difficult, with pitfalls and bad times along the way--and Edwards is the first to admit that he has underachieved since his record-setting flight of fancy in 1995 after which his talent threatened to dominate the sport for years.

But a disappointing Bronze medal in Seville in 1999 hit the triple jumper like a bolt from the blue, making him sit up and re-evaluate his whole life--and now Edwards has a more thoughtful attitude to his career.

His aim is to once again reach the top--starting with a gold at this summer's Olympic games in Sydney.

Malcolm Folley's fascinating biography of an unlikely hero is a breath of fresh air and will stand as a lasting tribute to the life and achievements of Jonathan Edwards. --Andrea Thursday

From the Back Cover:

'A Time to Jump' tells the extraordinary story of one of Britain's sporting heroes who combines outstanding talent with his spiritual beliefs. Jonathan Edwards became an instant celebrity when he broke a 10-year world record for the triple jump at Gothenburg in 1995. He became BBC Sports Personality of the Year and found himself at the focus of public attention.

This exciting new biography charts Edwards' struggle to reach the top in his sporting career and the challenges to his faith he has to overcome. In 1992 he travelled to Barcelona with real hope of winning a medal. Instead he failed to survive the qualifying round, and left questioning his future and his commitment to God. He fought back from illness in 1995 to achieve his remarkable world record, but won only the silver medal in the Atlanta Olympics. In Seville at the World Championships in 1999 the world was moved by the television images of a devastated Edwards being comforted by his wife Alison, after another humbling defeat.

At the core of Edwards' life is his Christian faith. He became known as the athlete who refused to compete on Sundays, a stance which cost him the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo. Edwards was described as a modern-day Eric Liddell. But later Edwards changed his mind on Sunday competition as he came to believe it was his responsibility to use the gift he had been given and participate. The athletics track has provided a platform for Edwards' strong personal beliefs but also continues agonisingly to test his faith.

Reflecting on his preparation for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Edwards talks with candour and warmth over his sporting and spiritual journey, thus far, and on the battle ahead.

'I would say to Jonathan, go to Sydney, prepare as well as you can, then enjoy it because you don't owe anybody anything, I think if God's willing, he'll win'.
BRENDAN FOSTER

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