Survivor : The Shocking and Inspiring Story of a True Champion

4.31 (48 ratings by Goodreads)
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Fatima Whitbread had the worst possible start in life. Abandoned as a baby, she spent much of her childhood in and out of children's homes. A brief, disastrous stay with her birth mother saw her raped by her mother's drunken boyfriend - while her mother held a knife to her throat to 'quieten her down'. Fatima was only twelve at the time.

Athletics was her saviour: local athletics coach Margaret Whitbread took the young Fatima under her wing, eventually adopting her. Fatima competed in three Olympics, winning bronze at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. In 1986 she set a world record, and the following year in Rome became world champion and was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year. But then Fatima faded from the public eye, leaving many to wonder where she had gone.

After the cheering stopped, Fatima faced prejudice, penury, scandal and heartbreak. Survivor describes how she defeated all her demons to rise triumphantly from the ashes once again, this time as queen of the jungle. Almost 13 million people watched her on I'm a Celebrity, and after surviving 20 days in the Australian heat, she has millions of new fans eager to know more about Fatima the woman: the forthright, focused, slightly bossy, charismatic single mum who knows how to transform even the most devastating experiences into lessons in life. This is the unforgettable story of a true champion, who triumphed against the worst hardships imaginable.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 126 x 198 x 30mm | 260g
  • Virgin Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • UK ed.
  • 1 x 8pp plate section
  • 0753540967
  • 9780753540961
  • 625,679

Back cover copy

‘In a council flat in London, a three-month-old baby began to cry. She cried for the next two or three days. She had been left alone in that empty flat with nothing to eat or drink; she was filthy, she was ill. That baby was me.’

Abandonment was Fatima Whitbread’s welcome to the world. It didn’t get any friendlier. A succession of brutal children’s homes followed, punctuated by visits ‘home’ where ‘the woman’ would put her to work in her filthy flat, while her drunken boyfriend watched with too much interest.

Yet from this traumatic beginning, a survivor was born. Athletics was her saviour. When Fatima took hold of a javelin for the first time, she also took hold of her future, and went on to become world champion. But no real life has a fairy-tale ending ...

Survivor is the inspirational story of a woman who succeeded against all the odds.
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Review Text

"This book is an honest and often troubling insight into the mind of a woman whose achievements in sport pale into insignificance compared to her triumph over her desperate beginnings."
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Review quote

"This book is an honest and often troubling insight into the mind of a woman whose achievements in sport pale into insignificance compared to her triumph over her desperate beginnings." -- Rob Crossan * Sunday Express *
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About Fatima Whitbread

Fatima Whitbread, MBE, world javelin champion, world record holder and twice Olympic medallist, has millions of new fans after surviving 20 days in the jungle on I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here. After her career as an athlete, the former BBC Sports Personality of the Year headed the Chafford Hundred elite runners club whose members included Linford Christie and Dame Kelly Holmes. The last woman standing on I'm a Celebrity cooked her way to total victory on the all-sport-champions' Come Dine with Me. Fatima has served as a school governor, is a qualified javelin coach and an excellent public speaker, and wants to help make the London Olympics a success.

She is writing the book with Adrianne Blue, a former Sunday Times correspondent and professional writer, who is the author of seven books published in 21 languages.
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Rating details

48 ratings
4.31 out of 5 stars
5 56% (27)
4 23% (11)
3 17% (8)
2 4% (2)
1 0% (0)
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