“The Girl Who Ran Sideways: The Story of an Olympic Champion” due to be released early 2022
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Pauline Davis-Thompson, the Bahamian icon who once conquered the sprinting world, is about to get her own book with a major US publisher.
This country’s original “Golden Girl” signed a book deal with US publisher Rowman & Littlefield earlier this week, a move that will bring her remarkable story of resilience, determination and Olympic glory to the world.
Dramatic and unflinching, Davis-Thompson’s upcoming memoir, entitled “The Girl Who Ran Sideways: The Story of an Olympic Champion”, will be co-written with noted Canadian author T.R. Todd, who recently penned the award-winning book “Pigs of Paradise: The True Story of the World-Famous Swimming Pigs”.
Davis-Thompson has a decorated track and field career spanning 20 years, ending on September 30, 2000 when the “Golden Girls” — Eldece Clarke, Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie, Chandra Sturrup, Sevatheda Fynes and Davis-Thompson — won the 4×100 relay and brought home the country’s first Olympic gold medal in track and field. In a historic year of firsts for The Bahamas, Davis-Thompson would also win the silver in the 200m in that same Olympics, which would later be upgraded to the gold after American sprinter Marion Jones was stripped of her medals for doping.
Raised on Fleming Street, in Bain Town, Davis-Thompson would defy the odds to not only become a double gold medalist, but the first woman from the Caribbean to take home the ultimate Olympic prize. It tells the story of a girl who was plucked from obscurity to become one of the most decorated female sprinters of her generation, and the first woman of color to join the World Athletics Council, the international governing body of track and field (formerly known at the International Association of Athletic Federations).
“It is with absolute excitement that I can announce the upcoming publication of my book,” said Davis-Thompson.
“At the end of the day, I am a product of Bain Town in Nassau. I was never meant to make it this far. From The Bahamas to the world, I hope my story inspires Bahamians and people from all walks of life to reach for their potential and never give up.”
With an expected release date in early 2022, “The Girl Who Ran Sideways” describes in raw detail Davis-Thompson’s upbringing in Bain Town, without power or electricity.
Every day, she carried the family’s buckets to the government tap to fetch fresh water. It was there she learned to run sideways, sprinting barefoot from bullies — it was the only way to get the buckets of water home without spilling.
Neville Wisdom, a seasoned track coach with the Bain Town Flyers Track Club, couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw this poor little girl, barefoot, sprinting down the track sideways on a grainy videotape recording. But he also saw something else: he saw the heart of a champion.
Todd, Davis-Thompson’s ghostwriter and a former business editor of a daily newspaper, said: “Pauline’s story is truly stranger than fiction. While we’ve known each other for years, it was only recently we finally came together and decided to write this book.
“Every aspect of her life is incredible and defies expectation. I hope this book is something the entire Bahamas can be proud of. But beyond that, it’s an opportunity for the whole world to know The Bahamas on a more intimate level, through the eyes of the original Golden Girl. In these challenging times, this is a story of perseverance that we all need.”
Davis-Thompson said she wants to share her book with her fellow Golden Girls, without whom she said she could not have accomplished what she did.
“While we did not always agree, they pushed me and together we made history,” she said. “So, I want to share this book with them. This story needs to be told.”
“The Girl Who Ran Sideways” is also a candid portrait of Davis-Thompson’s personal struggles to become the best in the world; her path to success was littered with hardship.
“In this book, I want to speak truth to power,” she said. “There were many things that happened to me in my life. I’ve experienced my fair share of tragedy and struggle.
“When people read this book, I hope what they take away from it is that success is not an accident. It takes work — hard work — and perseverance to reach your dreams.”
In these difficult times, “The Girl Who Ran Sideways” reminds us that it doesn’t matter how you start off in life — it’s how you finish.