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The Globe and Mail

Mark Tewksbury's grounding in the classics

Olympic gold medallist Mark Tewksbury reads "Great Expectations" in the Windsor Arms Hotel in Toronto.

Della Rollins/della rollins The Globe and Mail.

For Christmas last year, I was given a novel that had never crossed my path but was hailed as a "must read" by many of my friends. The Woman in White, written by Wilkie Collins, was published in 1860 and uses multiple narratives to reveal the mystery at the heart of the story. I found it captivating, and it inspired me to commit to picking up classics this year that I have always wanted to read. I am just finishing Charles Dickens's Great Expectations and have Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre on deck.

Going to work for me often involves getting on a plane to travel to speak, deliver a workshop or visit coaches and athletes. When I am in a different city each day of the week, waking up in various hotels, reading is my constant and my way of staying grounded. I love to start and end my day by taking some time to read, often in bed. Even though the hotel room may be new and unfamiliar, the novel that I bring to it stays the same.

Mark Tewksbury is a former Olympic champion swimmer and founder of the professional development company Great Traits Inc. He is currently Canadian chef de mission for 2012 Olympics in London.

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