Elaine Forrestal


Teacher’s Notes for Winning

Before read­ing the book

  1. Com­pare the dif­fer­ent ver­sions of the same image on the front and back covers.

    Which do you like best?  

    Which one best con­veys the impres­sion of speed?  

    The illus­tra­tor, Gre­gory Rogers, first sug­gested the image above as the cover. Do you think this would have worked on the book­shop shelf?

    If you were decid­ing which pic­ture to have framed to put on the wall in your room, which of the three would you choose?

  2. Look closely at the face in the bot­tom left hand cor­ner of the cover illus­tra­tion. What dom­i­nant emo­tion is this per­son feeling?  


  3. Read the blurb on the back of the book. Do you know some­one who might fit that descrip­tion of Pearce?  

    Do you think Pearce and Yosef will still be friends at the end of the book?

Analy­sis and appli­ca­tion of knowledge

Read and dis­cuss the novel.

  1. In the front of Win­ning you will find a quote from the fable ‘The Hare and the Tor­toise’ by Aesop. Read the fable. 
    Can you think of any other occa­sions on which the state­ment ‘The race is not always to the swift,’ might have been true? 

    Here are two news­pa­per reports of events in which the race was not won by the fastest competitor.

    Both pho­tographs cour­tesy of :-
    “The West Aus­tralian” , Page 1 — Mon­day March 4 2002

    Chip Le Grand
    “The most Mark Web­ber had hoped for in his long-awaited For­mula One debut was to see the che­quered flag at the end with his motor run­ning and wheels still turning. 

    In an extra­or­di­nary after­noon touched by what now must be known as “Bradbury’s luck”, Web­ber not only made it to the fin­ish at melbourne’s Albert Park yes­ter­day but picked up two cham­pi­onship points for peren­nial F1 cel­lar dweller Minardi. 

    A lap or so before Web­ber crossed the line with both fists pump­ing the air, the race was actu­ally won for the fourth con­sec­u­tive year by a Fer­rari, dri­ven for the third year run­ning by Michael Schu­macher. The legion of Fer­rari sup­port­ers cel­e­brated as usual as Schu­macher impe­ri­ously took the podium, but for parochial petrol heads who have waited 16 years for an Aus­tralian to claim points in any F1 race, let alone an Aus­tralian Grand Prix, this was another kind of red-letter day. 

    Web­ber said it felt as though he had won, and given the jubi­la­tion in the Minardi pits a casual observer could be for­given for think­ing that was so. 

    Web­ber climbed onto the podium to be doused with champagne.”

    The West Aus­tralian, Mon­day Feb­ru­ary 18 2002  

    “In from the cold: Aus­tralian speed­skater Steven Brad­bury, his rivals sprawl­ing in his wake, gives a dis­be­liev­ing salute after grab­bing gold in the 1000m short-track event at the Win­ter Olympics. ”


    “The fickle gods of short-track speed­skat­ing smiled on Steven Brad­bury as he starred in Australia’s very own Mir­a­cle on Ice. 

    Brad­bury won Australia’s first Win­ter Olympics gold medal with a win in the 1000m that beg­gared belief. 

    He was in last place in the final with 15m to go when the other four skaters all went down in a spec­tac­u­lar crash. 

    The Aus­tralian avoided the chaos and skated across the line in a time of 1min. 29.109sec. and with a look on his face he later described as “I can’t believe this”. 

    Event favourite Apolo Anton Ohno, of the US, picked him­self up off the ice, leg gashed badly, to take the sil­ver medal and Math­ieu Tur­cotte, of Canada, slith­ered across the fin­ish line to claim the bronze. 

    Brabury had won his semi-final in almost iden­ti­cal fash­ion and advanced from the quar­ter finals ear­lier in the night only when four-times World Cup over­all cham­pion Marc Gagnon, of Canada, was dis­qual­i­fied for imped­ing, which ele­vated the Aus­tralian to sec­ond place. 

    “I just went into the semi-final plan­ning to sit at the back and look for acci­dents or col­li­sions or some­thing so I could sneak up the inside if any acci­dents hap­pened — and they all went down,” he said. 

    “Same deal in the final. 

    “Obviusly I’m not the fastest skater but they were my tac­tics and they worked like a charm. 

    “Someone’s look­ing out for me today and I’m glad that they did.” 

    Brad­bury, 28, was a mem­ber of the short-track relay team which won Australia’s first Win­ter Olympics medal — a bronze — in 1994. 

    He is the sole sur­vivor from the 1994 team and only decided to stay in the sport for a fourth Olympics because he was unsat­is­fied with how he had per­formed in the indi­vid­ual races in the pre­vi­ous three. 

    “Obvi­ously I have the gold medal around my neck but whether I deserve to be in the same place as peo­ple who have won gold medals with­out the luck I had is some­thing I’ll have to come to terms with,” he said. 

    “I take it as a reward for effort in past Olympics where I think I should have been on the medal dais in indi­vid­ual races and wasn’t.” 

    Bradbury’s pre­vi­ous best indi­vid­ual result at an Olympics was eighth in the 500m in Lille­ham­mer eight years ago. ”


    Read both reports. Do you think that either or both races should have been re-run?  

    Dis­cuss the tac­tics used by Stephen Brad­bury dur­ing the semi-finals and the final of the speed skat­ing event at the Win­ter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

    Did he expect to win? 
    Did he deserve to win?  

    Imag­ine that you were in the lead and fell, bring­ing down three other skaters. How would you feel? 

  2. Write a short story describ­ing the race from the point of view of the skater who was in sec­ond place when the per­son ahead of him fell, bring­ing them both down.  

    In most sto­ries the main cli­max comes towards the end. Is this the case with Winning?  

    Which part of the book do you think is the most exciting?  

    How did Yosef feel when he beat Pearce for the first time?  

    Which char­ac­ter in the story did you like best?  

    Which one did you like least?  

    If you could be one of the kids in Pearce’s gang, which one would you choose to be?  

    Lit­tle Ath­let­ics clubs every­where are con­cerned about what has become known as ‘the ugly par­ent syndrome’.

    Does Pearce’s Dad suf­fer from this?  

    Form two teams and debate the topic:  

    ‘The parent’s role is to stand qui­etly on the side­lines at sport­ing events in which their chil­dren are competing.’

  3. Choose two peo­ple to act as policemen,one to inter­view Yosef about the school gardener’s shed rob­beries, one to inter­view Frankie and Denton.  

    How do the two ver­sions of the same event differ?  

  4. Draw an imag­i­nary map of the sub­ur­ban area where the two schools are situated.  

    Show the route that the three boys took to reach Wood­vale School.  

    Show the route that they took to get back to Denton’s house.

  5. Write a report for a local news­pa­per describ­ing the inci­dent at Wood­vale school in the mid­dle of the night.

Exten­sion Activities

Select one or two stu­dents from amongst the spec­ta­tors at your next Inter­school Sports Car­ni­val to act as reporters.  

Pub­lish their arti­cles in the school newsletter.  

Go on an excur­sion to the near­est news­pa­per office or print­ing press.  

Design and make the ideal sport­ing trophy.

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