Second Best (Innbundet)

A personal history of the ideas of gold, silver and bronze


Gudmund Skjeldal

Norwegian title: Nestbest
Norwegian subtitle: Ei personleg idéhistorie om bronse, sølv og gull
Binding: Innbundet
Year: 2014
Pages: 288
Publisher: Cappelen Damm
Språk: Nynorsk
ISBN/EAN: 9788202412272
Kategori: Narrative Non-fiction
Overview Nestbest

Gold, silver and bronze medals were first given to Olympic winners in St. Louis, USA, in 1904. But why these particular metals? Did the idea come from the USA? Does the inspiration stretch right back to antiquity? Or is the tradition more recent, from royal and state medals?

Gudmund Skjeldal took second place in the 50 km ski race at Holmenkollen in 1993, after being in the lead up to the last kilometre. The story of this race forms the framework for his personal explorations of the history of gold, silver and bronze.

A bronze medallist is often happy at having only just missed the silver. It's worse to be a silver medallist, who could so nearly have been the Olympic champion. Like Juha Mieto at the Olympic Games at Lake Placid in 1980, one hundredth of a second behind the gold medallist in the cross-country ski race. Gold is both a crowning achievement and a curse. The gymnast Nadia Comaneci scored a perfect 10.0 at the Olympic Games in Montreal in 1976. She won three gold medals at the age of fourteen. After perfection, what next?

Gudmund Skjeldal is a critically acclaimed author who writes about the history of ideas. As a former member of the national ski team, he is the ideal person to write this book.

'It’s a thrilling run and a pure pleasure to read.'

'… draws us into the story to share the sense of defeat.’

’Gudmund Skjeldal succeeds in combining entertaining stories about athletics with a moral message for our time … Skjeldal’s gentle, intelligent prose is observant, thoughtful and vivid social critique at its best.’

To the top

More books by Gudmund Skjeldal:

  • Wimbledon

    Der graset er grønast

    Gudmund Skjeldal

Reviews Nestbest

"Gudmund Skjeldal makter å forene underholdende idrettshistorie med en oppdatert moralsk elegi for vår tid. [...] Skjeldals milde, kloke prosa er ettertenksom, levende og eksistensiell samfunnskritikk på sitt beste."

Sverker Sörlin, Morgenbladet

"Stilistisk er han rett fram, sindig og jordnær, og frå tid til anna poetisk. Han har eit godt auge for små augeblikk lesaren vil hugse (...)"

Øyvind Vågnes , Klassekampen

"Det er eit spennande løp og ein rein lesefest."

Andreas Hompland, Runner’s World

"[...] slår fortellerkloen i oss og suger oss inn i nederlaget."

Kjetil Kroksæter, Bergens Tidende

To the top

Author Gudmund Skjeldal

Gudmund Skjeldal (1970–) has a degree in History of Ideas and the author of several critically acclaimed books. He was a member of the Norwegian cross-country team in the 1990s and headed the campaign for climate concerns “White Winter” in 2007 and 2008.

To the top

Foreign rights