5 New Autobiographies by Inspiring Female Athletes

These incredible women have used their grit and resilience to dominate in the world of sports. Read on to discover their inspiring autobiographies.

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In the world of sports, the personal narratives of female athletes have long been sources of inspiration, resilience, and triumph. As the spotlight on women’s achievements in sports continues to grow, so too does the demand for intimate glimpses into the lives of these remarkable individuals.

In this article, we delve into a selection of recent autobiographies penned by female athletes, each offering a raw and unfiltered account of their journeys to greatness. From tales of overcoming adversity to reflections on the intersection of athleticism and identity, these autobiographies serve as powerful testaments to the strength, determination, and unwavering spirit of women in sports.

1. Resilient: The Untold Story of Crossfit’s Greatest Comeback by Brooke Wells

Two-time individual CrossFit Games athlete Brooke Wells made a name for herself at the 2015 Central Regional, which she won at 19 years old.

Amidst the electrifying atmosphere of the 2021 CrossFit Games, the collective gasp of 10 thousand spectators echoed through the arena as Brooke Wells’s elbow buckled beneath the weight of a 190-pound barbell. What ensued was nothing short of remarkable: a tale of resilience that catapulted Wells from the depths of uncertainty to the pinnacle of athletic prowess.

brooke wells in her gym gear with her right hand raised in front of a grey backdrop

In her candid memoir, Resilient, Wells offers an unvarnished chronicle of her journey, detailing the arduous path she traversed to defy the odds and reclaim her status as one of the world’s premier athletes. From battling fear and self-doubt to confronting unforeseen challenges following total elbow reconstruction, Wells’s narrative brims with courage, determination, and an unwavering refusal to surrender.

Resilient stands as a testament to the indomitable human spirit, a stirring reminder that triumph often emerges from the crucible of adversity.

2. Outofshapeworthlessloser: A Memoir of Figure Skating, F*cking Up, and Figuring It Out by Gracie Gold

Gracie Gold is a two-time U.S. figure-skating champion and an Olympic bronze medalist, and she holds the record for the highest short-program score ever recorded by an American woman.

When Gracie Gold took to the ice at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, she was hailed as America’s sweetheart, embodying the quintessential image of the nation’s beloved winter sport. With her striking beauty, blonde locks, Midwestern charm, and polished media presence, she quickly became a fixture in the media spotlight. However, behind the facade of fame and success, Gold harbored a dark secret: the relentless internal voice she termed “outofshapeworthlessloser” driving her to the brink of despair.

gracie gold sat in front of a red background in her skating costume with her skates in front of her

In 2017, Gold made headlines again, this time for a different reason, as she publicly entered treatment for what was disclosed as an eating disorder and anxiety issues but was, in reality, suicidal thoughts. While her public persona soared, her private life unraveled, plagued by fractured family dynamics, worsening bulimia, and the trauma of sexual assault. The intense pressure of training under demanding coaches and growing up in an environment where only perfection was acceptable had finally exacted its toll.

Now, in a courageous and candid memoir titled Outofshapeworthlessloser, Gold offers an unfiltered account of her struggles both on and off the ice, confronting familial discord, conflicts with coaches, clashes with federation authorities, and the relentless deterioration of her mental well-being. It’s a gripping narrative of resilience, defiance, and raw honesty from a world-class athlete, a testament to the indomitable human spirit in the face of adversity.

3. The Hard Parts: A Memoir of Courage and Triumph by Oksana Masters

Born in Ukraine, Oksana Masters entered the world facing seemingly insurmountable odds, with a litany of physical challenges: one kidney, a partial stomach, six toes on each foot, webbed fingers, no right bicep, and no thumbs. Additionally, her left leg was six inches shorter than her right, and she was missing both tibias.

Abandoned by her birth parents due to the overwhelming medical costs she would incur, Oksana endured a tumultuous childhood marked by abuse within the orphanage system. Salvation arrived at the age of seven when Gay Masters, an American professor, saw a photo of Oksana and felt compelled to rescue her, embarking on a two-year battle against adoption authorities.

Oksana Masters in a black jacket with a snowy road in the background

Upon arriving in America, Oksana faced numerous surgeries, including a double leg amputation, but she refused to let her differences define her. Fueled by an unyielding determination to prove herself, she defied expectations by excelling in not just one, but four sports: rowing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, and road cycling.

Her unparalleled success in these disciplines has earned her 17 Paralympic medals, establishing her as one of the world’s preeminent athletes, with the most Winter Games medals of any U.S. athlete, Paralympic or Olympic. Oksana’s remarkable journey serves as a testament to the power of resilience and the transformative impact of love, inspiring others with a message of triumph and beauty in the face of adversity.

4. Unstoppable!: My Journey from World Champion to Athlete A to 8-Time NCAA National Gymnastics Champion and Beyond by Maggie Nichols

Maggie Nichols’s official memoir is an inspirational tell-all about the abuse she suffered under the U.S. national gymnastics team and how she managed to redefine herself in the face of adversity.

maggie nichols on the beam in her pink gymnastics costume with a blue backdrop

In 2015, Maggie Nichols’s gymnastics career soared as she led her team to victory at the World Championships, poised to pursue her Olympic dreams alongside esteemed teammates Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, and Laurie Hernandez until a devastating revelation shattered her world: she disclosed to her coach that USAG doctor Larry Nassar had been sexually abusing her and other athletes.

Amidst a nationwide investigation exposing the trauma and cover-up within the gymnastics community, Nichols emerged as an outspoken advocate for young athletes, ultimately becoming an 8-time NCAA champion and sharing her inspirational journey of resilience, justice, and triumph in her tell-all memoir, shedding light on the dark realities of elite gymnastics and the power of reclaiming one’s voice.

5. Good For A Girl: A Woman Running in a Man’s World by Lauren Fleshman

As one of the most accomplished collegiate athletes and a national champion in professional running, Lauren Fleshman has spent her life immersed in the world of athletics.

Yet, throughout her journey, she has witnessed how sports systems, originally tailored for men and boys, frequently neglect the needs of women and girls. With alarming dropout rates among girls in sports during puberty and collegiate female athletes grappling with injuries, eating disorders, and mental health challenges, Fleshman’s experiences have highlighted the systemic disparities.

black and white girl ready to run on a black track with purple lines

In her compelling memoir, Good for a Girl, Fleshman candidly recounts her love affair with running, the trials of pushing her limits and enduring injuries, and her unwavering advocacy for a more equitable approach to female athletics. Drawing from her personal narrative and emerging research on the physiology and psychology of young athletes, Fleshman amplifies the often-overlooked voices of female athletes, asserting the necessity for a sports paradigm that places women at its core.

Autobiographies and memoirs penned by female athletes offer invaluable insights into the unique challenges and triumphs they face on and off the field. Through their narratives, these athletes not only inspire readers with their athletic prowess but also shed light on the intersection of gender and sports, highlighting the resilience and determination required to thrive in a male-dominated arena. Ultimately, their stories serve as powerful testaments to the indomitable spirit of women in sports, driving forward the ongoing conversation surrounding gender equality and representation in athletics.

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