Why Die? Cover

Why Die?

The Extraordinary Percy Cerutty, ‘Maker of Champions’

Graem Sims

Lothian Books

The definitive biography of Australia’s most enigmatic and controversial athletics coach.

Outspoken, outrageous, out of the square – this was the public Percy Cerutty at the height of his international fame. The ‘seer of the sandhills’ was renowned for his pioneering theories and eccentric ways as he trained a string of champions, led by Olympians John Landy and Herb Elliott, on the quests to sporting glory and immortality.

The private Percy Cerutty was fixed on an immortality of his own that would transcend mere sport. At the age of 44, his thwarted business ambitions and chronic poor health had led him to collapse. Given two years to live, he applied his obsessive nature to his recovery, transforming himself into an astonishing physical specimen and developing an entirely original theory of human movement. This personal transformation led to an international revolution in sports science and athletics traning techniques.

Why Die? (also the title of a book Cerutty intended to write before his own death) includes previously unpublished letters, diaries and essays of Cerutty’s, as well as anecdotes and reminiscences from the key figures of the day. For the first time it tells the dramatic and inspiring story of an extraordinary Australian – Percy Wells Cerutty (1895–1975).