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The Wrestler who Wrote a Book

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wrestler who wrote a bookRead an article about a wrestler who wrote a book. It is for the B2 First Reading Part 5 which practices reading for detail, opinion, tone, purpose, main idea and the implication of the idea.

About 10 minutesStrengthening reading comprehensionCambridge English B2 First Exam

B2 First Reading Part 5 (The wrestler who wrote a book)

For B2 First Reading Part 5, you are going to read an article called the wrestler who wrote a book. This exercise consists of a text with multiple-choice questions. For each question, there are four options and you have to choose one of them.

The wrestler who wrote a book

Phil Norton looks like the biggest, sweetest teddy bear you have ever seen. It is only when he opens his mouth that you notice the missing front teeth. Norton is a three-time world champion wrestler turned author. He was adored by fans because he was different: while other wrestlers were supreme athletes, he was just a hulk who knew how to take a hit. You could throw as many chairs as you liked at Phil Norton, you could smack him repeatedly, but he wouldn't go down.

After two autobiographies and a series of children's stories, he has just written a brilliant first novel: a work of immense power and subtlety, likely to gain a wide readership. At its simplest, it is about a boy and his dad getting together after a lifetime apart, though there is far more to it than that. Was he inspired by anyone he knew? The father, he says, is based on wrestlers he met on the road, friends of his, who appeared to be leading exciting lives, but deep down were pretty miserable.

Norton does not come from traditional wrestling stock. He grew up in California. His father was an athletics director with a PhD, his mother a physical education teacher with two master's degrees- one in literature, the other in French history. He was a big boy, bullied for his size. One day his neighbour had a go at him, and for the first time, Norton realised he could use his weight and size instead of feeling awkward about it. It was a turning point.

At university, he did a degree in communication studies. Meanwhile, he was learning the ropes of professional wrestling. Did his parents try to dissuade him? 'No. They were just really insistent that I finished college. I am pretty sure they thought I'd get hurt and quit wrestling.' But he didn't.

He looks in remarkably good condition for someone who spent 20 years in the ring. His skin is smooth and firm; there are few visible scars. 'It's amazing what retirement can do for you. I looked really rough five years ago, and now I think I look a good deal younger,' he says. People are surprised by the softness of his handshake. 'Yeah, that's the wrestler's handshake,' he says.

Do you have to be a good actor to be a good wrestler? 'I used to really resent the acting label, but it is acting. When it's really good, when you're feeling it and letting that real emotion fly, it comes closer to being real.' What did his children think when they saw him getting hurt? 'Well, they used to think I never got hurt because that's what I told them. When they got old enough to realise I did, they stopped enjoying it. That was, in part, what led to my decision to get out.'

Nowadays, his time is dedicated to family and books. His next novel is about boy wrestlers living on the same block, and he is also writing more children's stories. He does not think this life is so different from wrestling. 'Wrestling is all about characters,' he says. 'So when my fans hear I've written a novel, I don't get the sense that they feel I've abandoned them.'


Question 1 of 6

1. What impression do we get of Phil Norton's skills as a wrestler?

Question 1 of 6

Question 2 of 6

2. It is suggested that Watson's first novel

Question 2 of 6

Question 3 of 6

3. What does 'traditional wrestling stock' in paragraph 3 refer to?

Question 3 of 6

Question 4 of 6

4. What did Norton's parents feel about his interest in wrestling?

Question 4 of 6

Question 5 of 6

5. How does Norton regard the idea that wrestling is like acting?

Question 5 of 6

Question 6 of 6

6. Norton's present life is not so different from his past profession because

Question 6 of 6


Listen to the story about the wrestler who wrote a book.
Extra Free Exercises for B2 First Reading Part 5.

B2 First Reading Part 5B2 First Use of English and Reading Section

You need to be able to understand a range of texts, including how they are organised and the opinions and attitudes expressed in them. The texts will be from sources familiar to you such as magazines, articles, fiction and advertisements, but targeted at the interests of students. Students’ use of English will be tested by tasks which show how well they can control their grammar and vocabulary.

For this part, you practice how to understand the details of a text, including opinions and attitudes.

For this part, you practice how to understand the structure and follow the development of a text.

For this part, you practice how to find specific information in a text or texts.

B2 First Writing Section

You are required to produce two pieces of writing. The first piece is compulsory and will be an essay of 140-190 words. For the second, you can choose from an article, email/letter, essay, review or report (B2 First for schools the report is replaced with a story) of 140-190 words.

B2 First Listening and Speaking Section

Requires being able to follow and understand a range of familiar spoken materials, such as news programmes, public announcements and other sources, but targeted at the interests of the learners.

In this part you talk to the examiner about yourself and your life, e.g. your name, school, interests and future plans.

In this part, you talk about two photos on your own which you have to compare for about 1 minute. After you have finished, your partner will be asked a short question about your photo. When your partner has spoken about their photos for about 1 minute, you will be asked a question about their photos.

In this part you express ideas with your partner by looking at a discussion point that the examiner gives you.

This will be available soon.

In this part, you focus on general aspects of a topic with the examiner or you may involve your partner.

This will be available soon.

In this part, you will hear people talking in eight different situations.

In this part, you will hear someone being interviewed.

In this part, you will hear five people talking about different things.

In this part, you will hear an interview.

Especially helpful are exercises that are focussed on a theme or topic as these provide word retention practise so you can be confident to read, write, speak and listen successfully. We have many activities to get your English up to speed in no time.

Customs and Traditions explores how we celebrate our cultural identity across the globe.

Entertainment and Leisure explores how we spent our free time.

Environment and Nature explores the way humans and animals live, adapt and change on our planet.

Exploring how different societies create roles for people to develop their skills and knowledge.

Exploring how we learn and adjust to the world around us. .

Exploring how we experience the world through our life journeys

The more words you encounter and understand, the broader your day-to-day vocabulary will become. Our word games and puzzles such as our films word search are an excellent way to help to reinforce spellings in your mind.
Level Links:
This free material is for students at an Upper Intermediate Level of English. This will probably be suitable for students in their third or fourth year of English studies. We add exercises on grammar and vocabulary as well as whole text activities on a regular basis. In addition, we provide test practice activity for students who are preparing for the C1 Advanced which is part of the Cambridge Assessment English Main Suite as well as the English Language B for the IB Diploma. The material will also support students studying for the Cambridge Advanced courses and IELTS examinations.

We also provide free resources across the full range of levels to provide the tools to communicate in English well.

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