Home News 22 Rio Olympians And...

22 Rio Olympians And Paralympians Whose Books You Should Buy

By Karen Price | Nov. 01, 2016, 11:19 a.m. (ET)

Nov. 1 is National Author’s Day, and to celebrate we offer a list of the 2016 Olympians and Paralympians who just so happen to also be authors. Fans of Michael Phelps, Simone Biles and many of the other athletes who wowed us at Rio and want to learn more about their lives will be happy, and so will those who simply love stories of resilience, perseverance and the strength of the human spirit. Here are 22 Olympians and Paralympians whose books you should read: 

Download the Team USA app today for breaking news, Olympic and Paralympic team bios, videos and more.

1) Carmelo Anthony, Basketball

“Carmelo Anthony: It’s Just the Beginning” was published in August 2004. For grades four and up, the book talks about growing up in Baltimore, winning an NCAA championship as a freshman at Syracuse and the start of his NBA career with the Denver Nuggets. The four-time Olympic medalist also discusses overcoming difficult times to find success.

2) Simone Biles, Gymnastics

The gymnast’s early life in foster care and her family situation was detailed throughout her amazing run in Rio this summer, but in “Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance,” Biles discusses her upbringing and how she reached the top of her sport in her own words. The book, available Nov. 15, will include insight into her faith, family and the perseverance that led to this summer’s historic Olympic performance where Biles won five medals.

3) Sue Bird, Basketball

Four-time Olympic basketball champion Sue Bird wrote “Sue Bird: Be Yourself” to share the message that being herself and staying true to her beliefs helped lead her to success in life both on and off the court. Part of the “Positively For Kids” book series, it is aimed at children in grade four and up.

4) David Boudia, Diving

In “Greater Than Gold: From Olympic Heartbreak to Ultimate Redemption,” three-time Olympic diver David Boudia shares his faith journey and how changing his focus from seeking glory for himself to giving it to God changed his Olympic experience. After going to the Games for the first time in 2008 and leaving empty handed, Boudia became a Christian in 2010 and has since won one gold, one silver and two bronze Olympic medals in 2012 and 2016.

5) Tamika Catchings, Basketball

One of the greatest women to ever play basketball, Catchings grew up dealing with profound hearing loss, bullying and her parents’ divorce. Her book, “Catch a Star: Shining through Adversity to Become a Champion,” is about faith in God, overcoming adversity and how hard work and perseverance led to a storied career that includes four Olympic gold medals.

6) Gabby Douglas, Gymnastics

Douglas’ first book, “Grace, Gold, and Glory: My Leap of Faith,” discusses the sacrifice both she and her family made as she trained and rose through the ranks of elite gymnastics and the faith and determination it took to become an Olympic gold medalist for the first time in 2012. “Raising the Bar,” released a year later, is an inside look at day-to-day life for Douglas after the 2012 Games, including how she trains and eats and what it’s like to suddenly be in the spotlight as an Olympic champion and American darling.

7) Phillip Dutton, Equestrian

“Modern Eventing With Phillip Dutton: The Complete Resource — Training, Conditioning, and Competing in All Three Phases” is a guide for event riders and horse lovers of all abilities. The four-time Olympian and three-time medalist not only covers training, conditioning and competing in dressage, cross-country and show jumping but also how to care for your horse and includes experts’ tips and advice from his team of professionals.

8) Anthony Ervin, Swimming

Anthony Ervin’s path was anything but typical, going from winning a gold medal in swimming in 2000 at the age of 19 to retiring, auctioning off his medal for charity and embarking on a life that included joining a rock band, drugs and alcohol before coming back to swimming. “Chasing Water: Elegy of an Olympian” is an honest look at his life and his return to the pool and to the Olympic Games in 2012. He went on to win gold once more in 2016.

9) Shalane Flanagan, Track and Field

“Run Fast. Eat Slow.: Nourishing Recipes for Athletes” is a cookbook by the four-time Olympic marathoner and chef Elyse Kopecky that proves that healthy food for endurance athletes can also be flavorful and nourishing. Released in August 2016 and found on the New York Times bestseller list, it contains more than 100 recipes from smoothies and salads to entrees and desserts.

10) Missy Franklin, Swimming

Scheduled for release in December, swimmer Missy Franklin wrote “Relentless Spirit: The Unconventional Raising of a Champion” along with her parents to give readers an inside look at what it’s like to raise not only an Olympic champion but also a happy and confident woman. From her Olympic debut at 17 in London to her record-setting success since then, Franklin addresses topics including training, going to school, her faith and how she approaches challenges.

11) Brittney Griner, Basketball

In addition to finding tremendous success on the basketball court throughout her college and professional career, Olympic champion Brittney Griner has used her platform to speak on such issues as gender, stereotypes, sexuality and body image. She discusses topics ranging from how she was bullied growing up to how she learned to embrace and love herself inside and out in her book “In My Skin: My Life On and Off the Basketball Court.”

12) Laurie Hernandez, Gymnastics

Laurie Hernandez will become the third member of the “Final Five” women’s gymnastics team to author a book when “I Got This: To Gold and Beyond” is released in January 2017. The book, whose title is a mantra Hernandez mouthed to herself before her balance beam routine at the 2016 Olympics, covers the 16-year-old’s road to her first Olympic Games, where she won two medals, and journey on “Dancing with the Stars.”

13) Meb Keflezighi, Track and Field

In “Run to Overcome: The Inspiring Story of an American Champion’s Long-Distance Quest to Achieve a Big Dream,” marathoner Meb Keflezighi takes readers from his family’s move to America from Africa when he was 12 through the ups and downs of his career to his inspiring win at the Boston Marathon in 2014 just shy of his 39th birthday. In the New York Times bestseller “Meb For Mortals: How to Run, Think, and Eat like a Champion Marathoner,” runners can get an inside look at the nutrition and training, both mental and physical, that have fueled his long career.

14) Carli Lloyd, Soccer

In “All Heart: My Dedication and Determination to Become One of Soccer’s Best,” which will be available in December, Lloyd discusses how she struggled with self-doubt and almost quit soccer at times before working her way to the top of the sport and winning the World Cup with Team USA in 2015. “All Heart” was adapted for younger readers from the New York Times bestseller, “When Nobody Was Watching: My Hard-Fought Journey to the Top of the Soccer World,” which tells the same story but for adult readers.

15) Steven Lopez, Taekwondo

“Family Power: The True Story of How ‘The First Family of Taekwondo’ Made Olympic History” is a look at the family that sent four siblings to the Beijing Games in 2008. The book features all four siblings — Steven and Diana, who won bronze, Mark, who won silver, and Jean, who coached — telling the story of their family and what led them to the top of their sport.

16) Tatyana McFadden, Paralympic Track and Field

“Ya Sama! Moments from My Life” traces Tatyana McFadden’s incredible story from her early years in a Russian orphanage, her spina bifida and adoption and move to America to her life as an elite Paralympic athlete and 17-time medalist wheelchair racer. The book, the title of which is a Russian expression that means, “I can do it,” is written for younger readers.

17) Alex Morgan, Soccer

Alex Morgan gives young soccer fans and non-fans alike a look into her journey from youth soccer through the elite developmental programs to becoming a World Cup and Olympic champion and what it took to get there in her book “Breakaway: Beyond the Goal.” The book is directed at readers in grade seven and above.

18) Michael Phelps, Swimming

The 2008 book “No Limits: The Will to Succeed” became a New York Times bestseller for Phelps, who shared his approach to training, competition, mental preparation and more as well as the lessons he learned in the early years of his phenomenal career. “Beneath the Surface: My Story,” was released in 2012 and includes Phelps’ thoughts on his battle with ADHD, his parents’ divorce and the pitfalls of a life in the limelight.

19) Brad Snyder, Paralympic Swimming

The inspirational “Fire in My Eyes: An American Warrior’s Journey from Being Blinded on the Battlefield to Gold Medal Victory” captures the swimmer’s journey from the Naval Academy to being blinded on the battlefield of Afghanistan to winning Paralympic gold in swimming in London one year to the day after he stepped on an IED and lost his vision.

20) Hope Solo, Soccer

Hope Solo’s 2013 book, “Solo: A Memoir of Hope,” is described as a portrait of an athlete finding redemption and the true story of the Olympic soccer goalkeeper few have seen. Portions of the book discuss her relationship with her once-estranged father and family turmoil as well as ups and downs of her career. She has also written, “Hope Solo: My Story,” adapted for younger readers.

21) Serena Williams, Tennis

Quite the author, Olympic champion and 22-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams has written “On the Line,” documenting her upbringing, challenges and accomplishments in tennis, “Venus and Serena: Serving From The Hip: 10 Rules for Living, Loving, and Winning,” in which she and sister Venus offer tips on everything from money to dating to confidence, and “My Life: Queen of the Court,” which is geared toward younger readers.

22) Venus Williams, Tennis

Olympic tennis champion Venus Williams taps not only her own knowledge but that of other leaders in “Come to Win: Business Leaders, Artists, Doctors, and Other Visionaries on How Sports Can Help You Top Your Profession.” The essays cover topics including how to learn from losses, block out distractions and visualize a course of action.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

Related Athletes

head shot

Carmelo Anthony

head shot

Simone Biles

head shot

Sue Bird

head shot

David Boudia

head shot

Tamika Catchings

head shot

Gabrielle Douglas

head shot

Phillip Dutton

head shot

Anthony Ervin

head shot

Shalane Flanagan

head shot

Missy Franklin

head shot

Brittney Griner

head shot

Laurie Hernandez

head shot

Mebrahtom Keflezighi

head shot

Carli Lloyd

head shot

Tatyana McFadden

Nordic Skiing
US Paralympics
head shot

Alex Morgan

head shot

Michael Phelps

head shot

Bradley Snyder

head shot

Hope Solo

head shot

Serena Williams

head shot

Venus Williams