Here is Steve Kilgallon's introduction which sums up the book beautifully:
IT WAS his assistant who insisted that Abraham Zapruder, a tubby,balding 58-year-old clothing manufacturer and Democrat voter,take his 8mm cine camera when he went to watch the American presidential motorcade pass through downtown Dallas on 22
November 1963. As he stood in Dealey Plaza that day, Zapruder filmed 26 seconds of footage that captured the moment of John F Kennedy’s assassination.
You’ve probably never heard of Abraham Zapruder.
You may never have heard of Jack Ralston either, but Ralston is New Zealand’s sporting equivalent of Zapruder: a man who happened to be in the right place at the right time to witness history—only in Jack’s case, it has happened a lot more than once.
Jack would have a good story to tell if he only talked about the hundred-plus national athletic and triathlon champions he’s coached, including Olympic gold medallist Hamish Carter. But he’s also been there to see history made. Jack was on the inside
when the All Blacks lost the 1999 Rugby World Cup, and when the New Zealand Rugby Union ‘lost’ the co-hosting rights to the 2003 tournament. Jack was there as Nike expanded from a niche shoe company to global sportswear giant. And when netball
turned professional. And when Carter blew the Sydney Olympics. And when the Springbok logo survived the ire of anti-apartheid protesters . . . Along the way, he hung out with stars such as Carl Lewis, Charles Barkley, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Francois Pienaar, Pete Sampras and even Nelson Mandela.
Unfortunately, many sports biographies are far from the uncut truth. There are allegiances to be protected, contracts with sponsors and national sports organisations to be respected, disrepute clauses in playing contracts to be feared. Having survived a life-threatening blood disorder, and at the end of a sporting career that’s taken himSteve Kilgallon, Auckland, June 2011
around the world, Jack Ralston has no such fears. He’s left nothing out, and nor have I.
There is no question - Jack Ralston is New Zealand's ultimate sports insider.But I must confess to have not being aware of him at all until this book arrived. Having started his career training with Arthur Lydiard, he joined the then-fledgling niche sports shoe company, Nike, as sales and marketing manager when they were trying to break into the New Zealand market in 1992. After working in Hong Kong, as the Nike marketing manager for the Asia-Pacific region, he went on to head up Nike Sports Entertainment at their Oregon headquarters in the mid-90s. Here, he worked alongside the world’s top athletes, including Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Charles Barkley, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Carl Lewis. Drawn back to New Zealand, Jack then worked for the New Zealand Rugby Union, helped launch the Super 12, trained triathletes like Olympic gold medallist Hamish Carter, worked with Round-the-World yachting syndicates and was named NZ Triathlon Coach of the Year.
Jack Ralston is a top businessman, a sportsman, a brilliant coach and a great storyteller. He has been an insider during many of the seminal moments in New Zealand sport over the last two decades, including when the All Blacks 'lost' the hosting rights to the 2003 World Cup, when Carter blew the Sydney Olympics, and when the Springbok logo survived the ire of anti-apartheid protesters. Along the way, he worked with some of the world’s most iconic athletes, legendary All Blacks, and even Nelson Mandela. And now he's ready to tell his story. The whole story. Including All Blacks using steroids in the 1990's.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Jack Ralston is a top New Zealand coach and businessman. He led Nike Sports Entertainment (International), and worked with the South African Rugby Union to save the Springbok. As an administrator, Jack has worked for the NZRU, Netball NZ and Gymsports NZ. As a coach, Jack worked alongside the legendary Arthur Lydiard, trained Olympic gold medallist Hamish Carter and has been New Zealand Triathlon Coach of the Year three times.
Steve Kilgallon is a senior writer at the Sunday Star-Times, and has also worked for the Sydney Morning Herald and the Guardian. He has won four Qantas/Canon Media Awards for his sportswriting and is a competitive but average runner himself, having completed six marathons and one ultramarathon.
PUBLISHED: 14 November 2011
IMPRINT: Allen & Unwin