After over 150 ‘record breaking’ book entries for this year’s William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award the winner, Dr Grigory Rodchenkov, won for his book, The Rodchenkov Affair. 

What is it?

The Rodchenkov Affair charts Rodchenkov’s childhood growing up behind the iron curtain, his early experience of doping but more importantly his later career as the head of the anti-doping lab whilst simultaneously being a senior player in Russia’s doping programme.

It detailed internal conflicts at the Kremlin, brazen cheating by that nation’s athletes and when it became clear that he was going to be the one left holding the can at the end of this he turned whistleblower. It led to him going on the run in America where he lives in exile. For obvious reasons therefore he is not giving interviews.  

Matt Williams chats to Drummond Moir, Editor and Publisher of the winning title, for a fascinating chat all about how the book was pulled together. Plus, Alyson Rudd spills all on the judge’s decision and looks ahead to our 2021 award.

Who is it?

Dr Grigory Rodchenkov, Author, The Rodchenkov Affair

Matt Williams, William Hill Sports Book of the Year review panellist and renowned sports broadcaster he worked for twenty years as a journalist and presenter at the BBC. He’s also worked for a National Governing Body as the Head of Communications at the British Equestrian Federation, dealing with numerous crises. Matt is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).

Drummond Moir, Editor and Publisher, The Rodchenkov Affair

Alyson Rudd, Judge, William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award

What is being said?

Williams: “He doesn’t care whether you like him but it’s very important to him that we believe him. Bluntly some of the things that he says within the book you wouldn’t be saying if you wanted to win any friends. 

“For example his views on doping he believes or he says in the book doping levels the playing field. Well those of us who love sport would say no I don’t want drugs involved in sport but he’s clearly saying that because that is what he believes.” 

Why should I watch it?

Insight in a whistleblower of Russia’s 2015 ‘RUSADA scandal’, which revealed Russia’s sophisticated state-financed athlete doping programme – described by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as the ‘biggest scandal in world sports’ history’.

The IOC banned Russia from all international events for four years, with the country denied participation in the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games and 2022 FIFA Qatar World Cup.

Literary critics have branded ‘The Rodchenkov Affair’ as a ‘must-read’ expose which documents the Kremlin’s control over all Russian sports programmes and agencies.

The Rodchenkov Affair was praised for its searing honesty and bravery, explaining in gripping detail how RUSADA’s lead scientist helped ensure Russian athletes who cheated through doping, evaded detection by international authorities.

Where can I see more?

Source: William Hill’s Spotify and you can find the Sports Book Of The Year site here.

RUSADA scandal whistleblower wins William Hill’s Sports Book of the Year