Obligatory Olympics Post || YA Edition.

The Olympics are being held in London this year.
Woah, crap… I’m sorry, that should have come with a warning, shouldn’t it?
I apologise profusely.
Were you at least sitting down? I hope you were. I know what you mean though, the first I heard about this was when I was rummaging through my purse looking for some change so I could buy a Whispa Gold and I found an Olympic 50p in there. ….

OK, you get that I’m kidding. The thing is: I’m actually ecstatic that London has the Olympics this year. I am so excited. The thing is, I get the Olympics… well, I get athletics. It’s pretty much the only sport I can quite happily talk about and not feel like a fraud or completely lost.
Most of my friends are like: “Whatever Jo, I bet you can’t even name me one athlete. And don’t you dare say Usain Bolt. You’re only in it for the lycra.”

Which is a blatant lie. Well… maybe not a lie as such.
I am in it for the lycra, but I’m in it for more than that. I just love watching athletes line up at the starting line, prepare to jump over their greatest height, see how far they can throw, see how far they can push themselves. Whoosh… it gives me goosebumps and wish that maybe I had tried a little bit harder at P.E at school. OK, not really. It also makes me swear like a sailor and make noises only dogs can hear. I love it because you get to see the kind of moments that will be lumped together and played while this song is playing. I love it. LOVE. (Also… tune.)

Where was I?
Ahh yes, I’m excited for the Olympics.
So, I decided to do something a bit… different to celebrate two of my most favourite passions.
And you know when I say different, I mean ridonkulous.
So here goes .

Dear Athlete, Wanna Read Out Loud To Me?

(aka. Um.. basically I’m going to pair up Olympic athletes with YA books and dream a little dream about them one day providing the voices for the audiobook).

Christophe Lemaitre reading Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.

I’m going to start with the guy who gave me the idea for this post. You may remember my rant heated debate with…um… myself re: Etienne St. Claire. If you can’t be bothered reading the whole review just skip down to the Love Interest bit and you’ll see where Mr Lamaitre gets involved.
I’m still not over it. Etienne St. Claire. Seriously, it’s in the name. IT’S THE FRENCHEST NAME IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. But St. Claire (SPOILER) turns out to be British. And short. And he can’t handle his alcohol. And he can’t run 100m in under ten seconds. What kind of man is he? No man I have time for, that’s for sure.
So because I am a reader and I have creative license and I can basically ignore everything the author says, I cast Monsieur Lemaitre as Mr St. Clair. So it’s only fair he’s the one who reads the audiobook.
I love Christophe Lemaitre, mostly because he’s hot… but because he’s so determined and focussed and so restrained, which is sometimes refreshing when there is so much testosterone and, dare I say it, ego on that start line…. I mean, he doesn’t even wave at the camera, never mind do a cocky dance. He gets there, does his job, and goes.
And the fact that his job is to make Jamaican and American sprinters quake in their booties…well, that’s just brilliant. He may not be the name that comes to your mind when you think of 100m sprinters (or 200m sprinters, actually) but you’d be a fool to discount him. He also has the most adorable accent in the entire world. And he’s cute. And he’s about 8 ft tall. AND his second name is literally THE MASTER. I think… I only have a GCSE in French, which is the only problem with this plan because I can’t speak French (and I’m not the kind of girl who will let the funky music do the talking) and he can’t really speak English at all.
Actually, maybe instead of having him read the book we could just release a recording of me attempting to ask him to read an audiobook… it will sell millions.

UPDATE: Whaaaaat? Hey athletes! Stop ruining my blog post! Because THAT’S what people are caring about right now…. But seriously, can’t wait for the 200m and the relay.

Usain Bolt reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. 

I love The Hunger Games, you know I do. And I love Usain Bolt. These are two similar statements.
WHAT? How on earth?! I hear you cry.
Listen… I’ll try and explain.
Everyone has heard of The Hunger Games, even if they don’t read YA books. Everyone has heard of Usain Bolt, even if they don’t watch athletics. The Hunger Games Trilogy is the gateway YA book and Usain Bolt is the gateway athlete. He’s thae one people know. And they are the big guns. They sell millions.
People may roll their eyes and say ‘Oh you only like them because you think you’re supposed to’ to which I would scowl at them. Sure there are aspects of Bolt that I don’t like (I will be referring to them as his ‘Mockingjay Traits’) but how anyone can say he’s not one of the most brilliant athletes ever, I don’t know. Same goes with The HG.
There is a reason why they are so famous and people who wouldn’t normally read YA/watch athletics know them. It’s because they’re bloody fantastic.
And are you kidding me? Usain Bolt reading The Hunger Games. Don’t even pretend you wouldn’t buy it.

Actually… an update because the brilliant Sarah from Clear Eyes, Full Shelves informed me that Khatuna Lorigactually taught Jennifer Lawrence how to use a bow. Can you have understudies for audiobooks? If so…

Jessica Ennis reading The Disreputable History of  Frankie Landau Banks by E. Lockhart

Let’s talk about gir…. Oh my god. I nearly wrote “girl power” then.
That was close, dear reader, and I apologise profusely. No one wants to talk about “girl power” because we’re not in the ‘90s… ALSO I’ve realised that when anyone mentions “girl power” the conversation descends into madness because everyone argues over which Spice Girl they would be. I, however, am mature and have realised that I will never be a Sporty Spice and because my hair is brown and straight, I will always be lumbered with being Posh Spice.
You know who WOULD be Sporty Spice and who is all about the “girl power”?

Wait, before I talk about the wonderful Ms Ennis, I have to apologise… I promised I wouldn’t say “girl power” but I did and I did it again.
Girl power.
In for a penny, in for a pound.
This book features one of my favourite heroines ever and that’s why I want Jess Ennis to read it out loud because she’s one of my favourite heroines ever. And she’s real! Which is strange because most of my heroines are… um… fictional… While other athletes are being talked about because of their athleticness (it’s a word, I assure you, let’s move on) Jess has to deal with people talking about her body, critics saying she’s not going to do well under the pressure and about countless other ridiculous things. I mean, if Jess Ennis is “carrying too much weight”… I just….
Anyway, Ms Ennis is focussed, she’s excellent and she’s such a brilliant role model for not only girls who want to carve their way in athletics or sport in general but she’s a role model for anygirl, woman, lady… whatever.
I reckon her and Frankie would get on like a house on fire but I’m not going to introduce them until they, like, swear on a puppy’s life that they’ll invite me to one of their sleepovers.
I’m waiting ladies.
*taps foot*

Rebecca Adlington reading On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.

OK, I know that Ms Adlington isn’t underrated. In every paper, you’ll find a picture of Rebecca Adlington. I’m not a huge fan of swimming, I don’t mind admitting that but I am watching it this Olympics. I like swimming but I don’t follow it officially, but I have to say that I love Rebecca Adlington. I find it really sad that I have to say this but AGAIN… Ms Adlington is constantly hounded by the most ridiculous people ever at how she looks. I mean, again, are you kidding me? She is absolutely stunning… but AGAIN… why does it matter?
She could have a face like a sack of spanners (which she doesn’t! IN ANY WAY EVER!) but she’s an athlete! Why can’t we focus on that?
Anyway, I’m awarding Ms Adlington the honour of reading out Jellicoe e she, like Double M, shows how awesome women can be. Not only is Double M a women YA writer carving the way for others, but she also creates female characters who are strong, resilient, and basically brilliant in every single way. Not only is Ms Adlington a woman…. But SURPRISE SURPRISE… she’s an Olympian.
I hope you don’t think I’m a glory chaser as I’m not a huge fan of swimming when I say I am so glad that Rebecca Adlington won bronze last night …. Because believe it or not, the Olympics is a test of athleticism… not how they look.

*steps off soapbox*
*takes off feminism cardigan*

Best of British Athletes reading Harry Potter by J.K Rowling.

Surely, there is only one series that comes to mind when you think of British YA? The author of which actually featured in our absolutely brilliant opening ceremony which may or may not have made me squeal and applaud. So, I’ve gathered together a mere handful of my favourite British athletes to read my favourite British YA series. Of course this isn’t a drop in the ocean because there are so many wonderful members of Team GB this year, but unfortunately there are only seven books. I still managed to squeeze in an extra two though… rebellion, thy name is Jo.

Sir Chris Hoy reading The Philosopher’s Stone– To get us started off, I’m deviating from athletics and having Sir Chris, our team flag bearer to begin. I always forget how fast you can read the first book, but you’d be hard-pressed to forget how fast Sir Chris can ride. Heart pumping and incredibly exciting, reading this book is exactly like a kierin. Um…except… well, your thighs probably don’t hurt as much at the end.

Carl Myerscough reading The Chamber of Secrets.

Andrew Osagie/Michael Rimmer/Martyn Rooney reading The Prisoner of Azkaban- So, I’m having a bit of a relay with this one. This is my second favourite HP book (though if you ask me tomorrow, I’ll say it’s my favourite) so I just have to get three of my. So many of my friends are all over the fourth book but I love the third one. This is where the story truly starts. It’s extremely underrated, and so, I feel, are the middle distance runners. They haven’t got the razzmatazz of the sprinters and they haven’t got the ‘Ohmygodhowaretheystillrunning?Iwould’vepassedoutfacefirstinthesteeplechasewaterjumpbynow’ of the long distance. But I love them completely and utterly and they are so classy and brilliant athletes. I’m so excited to see what these boys can do!

Paula Radcliffe reading The Goblet of Fire. (I’m so gutted…. :( Paula, you’re still one of our best athletes!)

Louis Smith reading The Order of the Phoenix. I know everyone is like ‘Urrgh, it’s soooo boring. Nothing happens!’. Doesn’t it? DOESN’T IT? I love it because the beauty and excitement is in the detail. Yeah not much ‘happens’ but how much do you learn about the world that Ms Rowling created? Actually, this is my favourite Harry Potter book and the one everyone seems to forget about.

But after THAT picture- how could you forget? I’m playing dirty. I want other people to love this book too so I’m bringing out the big guns… LITERALLY.

Mo Farrah reading The Half-Blood Prince. How could I talk about the Best of British without mentioning Mo? I love him and I absolutely can’t wait to see what he does this competition.

Dai Greene reading The Deathly Hallows. Well… of course he was going to feature. Do I even need to explain why?

You may wonder where my favourite, favourite athlete Phillips Idowuis. Well, unfortunately he’s in the medical wing and is being attended to by Madam Pomfrey. Please be OK, PLEEEEEASE. We need you, Phillips. *weeps*

The Next Big Thing.

I predict Adam Gemili is going to be the name on everyone’s lips. It’s not an earth-shattering prediction…people have said it before. But he is brilliant and I am so excited that there’s finally a British sprinter who just might be able to make the other sprinters start twitching nervously in their blocks.
So I’m having him read my book.
Which is definitely going to be a bestseller… um, when it gets published. Um…if… it gets published. Luckily there isn’t much doubt that Mr Gemili is the next big thing… so I think he should be reading YA’s Next Big Thing and I think, hope, wish and dream that this will be a contemporary book.
Which one, I don’t know yet. But I have a feeling, like Mr Gemili, contemporaries are gonna wipe the floor with the rest in the not-to-distant future.

Of course there are a million other athletes that I love in other disciplines that I haven’t talked about, not to mention the legendary athletes (I am desperate for Brendon Foster to go into audiobook narrating. I would quite happily pay him to say Haile Gebrselassi and Kenenisa Bekele to me on a regular basis) but I’ve rabbited on waaaaay too long.

Plus, there’s this sporting event that’s on TV at the moment that I need to catch up on… I dunno if you’ve heard but London has the Olympics this year…

What will YOU be watching over the next two weeks?


6 thoughts on “Obligatory Olympics Post || YA Edition.

  1. What a creative post! I love it! Plus, Order of the Phoenix is my favorite of the whole series too! How can people forget it? How? I mean, it has everything – politics, character development, death, intrigue, mystery, rebellion! Gah! It’s so perfect – as is this post! Great books, great athletes, and great reasons! I hope you’re enjoying watching the Olympics just as much as I am! :D

  2. Jo, your mind grapes are amazing. Your Etienne rant is literally the best thing I’ve read all day. “What kind of man is he? No man I have time for, that’s for sure.” Bahaha. And bonjouuuur, M. Lemaitre! A tall Frenchman? C’est possible?? I would watch more of the Olympics if NBC, you know, BOTHERED TO AIR THEM AS THEY HAPPENED. It’s not the same when you see everyone in the world tweeting about it as it happens, then the East Coast hours later, then have to wait 3 more hours after that.

    Mother of God Carl Myerscough! That’s such a Hogwartsian name. And he looks like Hagrid’s meaner brother. And I think you should play dirty more often. Louis Smith! You know what they say about guys with big guns…

    • Ha, Maggie, you’re too sweet. :)
      But yeah… nothing gets my blood pumping more than a British boy masquerading as a French boy. BOO.

      Hahaha, Carl Myerscough does look like a HP character, doesn’t he? I love him though.
      Big guns. Are you watching any of the gymnastics? He’s through to the final of the pommel horse. HELLO.

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