Whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov has been awarded the 2020 William Hill Sports Book of the Year honour for his book recalling how the former laboratory chief exposed Russia’s state-sponsored doping regime.
The former head of Russia’s national anti-doping laboratory’s autobiography, called The Rodchenkov Affair: How I Brought Down Putin’s Secret Doping Empire, faced competition from 151 other entries.
But Alyson Rudd, chair of the judging panel, said there was no contest for the top honour given the stunning revelations and far-reaching effects of Rodchenkov’s book.
"That this year produced a particularly strong shortlist was born out by the intense and passionate debate among the judging panel,” Rudd said.
"The Rodchenkov Affair was praised for its searing honesty and bravery as Grigory Rodchenkov explains in gripping detail how he helped ensure Russian athletes who cheated through doping, escape detection.
"He is a whistleblower like few others, and he remains a 'ghost' living in America, separated from his family, the price he pays for wanting 'to be on the side of truth'."
Rodchenkov fled his home in 2015 when the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) suspended Russia under accusations of state-sponsored doping during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
His involvement in the investigation came to light in Bryan Fogel’s Oscar-winning documentary Icarus and Rodchenkov's revelations have helped lead to the disqualification of more than 40 Russian athletes.
Rodchenkov has since been living under witness protection.
The Rodchenkov Affair charts Rochchenkov’s childhood growing up under the Iron Curtain, his early experiences of doping as a young athlete in Moscow and his later career working as head of Russia’s national anti-doping laboratory.
The autobiography also offers insight into the high-stakes environment working under the supervision of the Kremlin, the internal conflicts brought about by cheating and the sacrifices made by Rodchenkov throughout his life.
Rodchenkov is set to receive the £30,000 ($40,340/€33,244) winner’s cheque and a leather-bound copy of his book to mark becoming the 32nd winner of the prestigious literary award.
Drummond Moir, deputy publisher at Ebury, Penguin Random House and editor of The Rodchenkov Affair said they were "thrilled" to receive the award.
"Grigory’s memoir offers readers the full, unadulterated story that was first glimpsed in Bryan Fogel’s award-winning documentary Icarus, in Grigory’s own voice and words," said Moir.
"He’s created a breathtakingly candid memoir, one that takes the reader on a journey through a rigged system of flawed individuals, brazen deceit and impossible moral choices, where what begins as a sporting controversy escalates into a geopolitical earthquake.
"It feels fitting that the Rodchenkov Affair - forged in clandestine circumstances, by an author in total seclusion, published during a year of lockdowns - is now finally getting the attention it deserves."
Last month, the Rodchenkov Act was approved by the United States Senate, giving officials the power to prosecute individuals for doping schemes at international sports competitions involving American athletes.
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) was declared non-compliant by WADA last December after the country was found to have manipulated data at the Moscow Laboratory.
Russia’s flag and anthem will banned from major events including the Olympics and World Championships for four years if the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upholds a series of sanctions imposed by WADA.
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency's CAS appeal was heard last month, and a verdict is expected before 2021.