The inspiring story of a girl who grew up in one of the poorest communities in The Bahamas and rose to capture a country’s heart along with two Olympic gold medals took first place in biography category in the International Book Awards.
Running Sideways: The Olympic Champion Who Made Track and Field History by Pauline Davis with T.R. Todd, published by Rowman and Littlefield and written with TR (Jeff) Todd, beat out competition including Escape from Mariupol: A Survivor’s True Story by Adoriana Marik, as told to author Anne K. Howard, and the controversial Juror #11: A Memoir of Rising From A Broken Justice System and The Trials of Life by Katrina Robertson.
Davis, who won Silver in Sweden in the 400m, was one of the Golden Girls who won Silver in the Atlantis Olympics in 1996, Gold in the IAAF World Championship in Seville, Spain in 1999, shocking the world when they defeated Jamaica in the 4×100 and making the podium again the next year in the Australia Olympics.
She said she was stunned by the news her bio was the judges’ favourite.
“This was one race I did not even know I had entered,” she chided when told she won. “I was so shocked and surprised, I just could not believe it, but maybe other people identified with a girl from Bain Town who started running sideways to look over my shoulder and stay ahead of the boys who would try to catch me and bother me while I was juggling two big pails of water from the public pump. I knew if I slowed down, the boys would get me and if I spilled the water, my mother would let me have it when I got home so I just devised a way to stay safe from both and I kept on running.”
Throughout the book, Davis credits supporters – mentors like Neville Wisdom, former Sports Minister, who always believed in her, and emotional supporters including former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham. She is related to the current Prime Minister Philip Davis, the late PM Sir Lynden Pindling and his family, all of whom she said helped give her the confidence she needed when she doubted herself.
Today Davis is Chairwoman of World Relays Bahamas 2024 and a World Athletics Lifetime Council Member of World Athletics whose immediate past Chairman Lord Sebastian Coe wrote the forward to the book. Running Sideways was co-author TR Todd’s second biography and fourth book. He is completing his fifth now on another Bahamian woman.
Running Sideways is available in some bookstores, but Davis prefers to personalize signed copies at the Farmers’ Market on Gladstone Road, Nassau, where she can be found most Saturdays.