Books are perennially popular on holiday shopping lists. And the Olympics is a perennially popular topic with sports fans. The insightful biography “From Albert I to Albert II” by veteran White House correspondent T. Koprulu is an excellent choice to inspire young readers about the wide spectrum of careers they can pursue to follow their passions for sports and fitness. This personal profile of IOC Vice President Prince Albert II of Monaco chronicles his career as both an athlete and as a sports administrator and give readers an historical perspective about the globalization of the sports world.
One of the fascinating aspects of this book is how it details the notable differences between popular culture imagery of royal and princely families and the reality of eighty hour work weeks and grueling athletic regimens. Prince Albert II of Monaco began getting in shape at a very early age, walking 500 yards each way from the Grimaldi Palace to elementary school. Nearly forty years later, his foundation of fitness enabled him to train for rigorous pentathlon and win the 2001 Monaco Pro-Celebrity pentathlon.
No one was surprised that Prince Albert II demonstrated great athletic aptitude. His grandfather, Jack Kelley, was a three time Olympic Gold Medalist. His grandmother, Margaret Majer, was the first coach of women’s intercollegiate athletics in the Ivy League.
Few athletes have competed in more sports than Prince Albert II. He won his first international championship at the age of fifteen swimming the men’s 1,200 meter freestyle. Two years later he earned a black belt in judo. He played varsity football while attending college in the United States at Amherst College. After returning home to Monaco, he became President of the Monaco Yacht Club and won the Monaco-Saint-Tropez Regatta in 1985. Almost incredibly, he transferred his racing skills from the ocean to the desert and competed in the Paris to Dakar trans-Sahara rally.
At the age of thirty, when many athletes think seriously about retiring from competition and focusing on coaching, Prince Albert II took on a new athletic challenge. He trained to compete in the classic winter sport of bobsled. His experience in yacht and auto races proved effective in cross-training, keeping him in shape to return to the Winter Olympics as an athlete four more times until the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002.
Prince Albert II’s career in the administration of the Olympics began in 1984, when he worked as an international liaison at the Los Angeles Summer Games. In 1988, he was appointed Vice President of the Athletes’ Commission of the International Olympic Committee. The same dedication and energy that promoted his efforts in sports completion proved a great asset in sports administration, leading to his current role as Vice President of the International Olympic Committee.
This fascinating illustrated biography from Editions et Promotions Internationales can inspire both young readers considering their first careers and athletes who are considering their next step in their post-competition careers. Author Tuna Koprulu’s example shows a good way to follow success at the pinnacle with yet another encore. A longtime White House correspondent in Washington D.C., Ms. Koprulu took on the new challenge of writing a biography of a head-of-state. She applied her experience in newspaper publishing to give the book a completely different look than the typical dry, historical tomes. The illustrations bring the text to life and teach readers an important lesson – hard work and rigorous competition can also be fun.
Readers who are inspired to see Prince Albert II in person can set a new goal for themselves. His Serene Highness is scheduled to visit Los Angeles October 8, 2014 to host the 2014 Princess Grace Foundation Awards ceremony. Readers can learn more about plans and how to request invitations on the social media site of the Princess Grace Foundation USA.