Olympic Trials is a literary thriller that explores the dark side of sporting culture, including the many sacrifices, dysfunctional relationships and extreme behaviours that are common aspects of participating in a high performance sport environment. Juxtaposed with the stories of the athletes, there is the tale of an aspiring terrorist. His relentless devotion to a coach-like cult leader, and his physical, spiritual and psychological struggles on his journey to the Olympic Games mirrors the challenges of the athletes. The research portion of the thesis examines many of the texts generally included in the canon of sport fiction. Paramount here is the emergence of the anti-hero typology, figured within the framework of a quest narrative. These fictional athletes are depicted as inhuman⎯distinct in nature to the average citizen. Though these protagonists possess heroic strength or skill, they simultaneously demonstrate an inability to harness those attributes. They are distinctly flawed characters, who operate outside of acceptable moral parameters and the social norms of a community, although their misbehavior, including misogyny, homophobia and violence, is often endorsed by society. They live life at the mercy of sporting culture and their insatiable desires.