The Rodchenkov Affair named Sports Book of the Year 2020

The book, which meticulously details the Russian anti-doping scandal, won the £30,000 prize. 

An image of the Rodchenkov Affair cover on a blue striped background
Image: Ryan MacEachern/Penguin

The Rodchenkov Affair has won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year, beating a record number of entries to the annual prize.

Author and whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov took the £30,000 prize money for his blistering account of the Russian anti-doping scandal, which came to light in 2015 after a state-sponsored doping programme during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

The book charts Rodchenkov’s life, from his childhood behind the Iron Curtain to his first encounter with doping as a 22-year-old athlete while at university. He subsequently worked for the Soviet Olympic Committee, details of which are fully explored in The Rodchenkov Affair.

Drummond Moir, Deputy Publisher at Ebury said: “We’re thrilled that this unique book has received such a prestigious award. At Ebury we’re no strangers to some of the complexities unique to non-fiction publishing, but The Rodchenkov Affair presented us with an especially unusual situation – an author in witness protection; edits shared solely through encrypted messaging services; a legal read like no other; utter vigilance around security and anything that might compromise our author.

“Of course no-one worked harder to create the book than Grigory Rodchenkov himself, so it feels fitting that his memoir – forged in clandestine circumstances, by an author in total seclusion, published during a year of lockdowns – is now finally getting the attention it deserves.”

The prize received a historic 152 submissions this year, which were whittled down to a 15-strong longlist and a five-strong shortlist.

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