Tom Goldman

For NPR Sports Correspondent Tom Goldman, covering sports means more than just talking scores. It's about illuminating the people who make sports happen. As NPR's only sports correspondent, Goldman's beat covers the entire world of professional sports - in the U.S. and abroad. It's a broad assignment for one person, but Goldman admits enjoying the challenge. "It plays into one of my greatest strengths as a journalist: I'm extremely open-minded. I enjoy doing a story about something I know nothing about. It brings a freshness that I hope is conveyed in the final story," he explains. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs.

During his 15 years with NPR, Goldman has covered seven Super Bowls, several World Series, and with Athens, six Olympic Games — and brought perspective and context to each. His pieces are diverse, and often explore people's motivations for doing what they do — whether it's sailing around the world solo or pursuing a gold medal. And his coverage resonates with listeners. He recalls, "I did a short piece on the death of a black high school basketball coach in Ohio who lived among the world's largest population of Amish/Mennonites. It was a story of contrast and love, and what amazed me was the listener response. There was no production in the piece, just a wonderful story. And it said so much about what listeners often want — the kinds of nice stories we in the media often sneer at."

Goldman often searches for the stories about the amateur and everyday athletes whom we all can relate to - and be inspired by. One of his favorites grew out of a conversation he had with NPR sports editor Uri Berliner. Why, they wondered, don't we hear about Native American basketball players succeeding at the college and pro levels, when we hear so much about how important basketball is on reservations throughout the country? The result was a 12-minute report that won two prestigious awards: the 2004 Dick Schaap Excellence in Sports Journalism Award from the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University; and a 2004 Unity Award from the Radio-Television News Directors Association

Goldman came to NPR in January 1990. He started as an associate producer for sports with Morning Edition, and over the years moved on to report, edit pieces, edit shows, and produce. In June 1997, he began his current assignment.

Before coming to NPR, Goldman worked as a news reporter and then news director in local public radio from 1985 to 1990. In 1984 he spent a year living on an Israeli kibbutz. He held his first professional job in radio in Anchorage, Alaska, at the Alaska Public Radio Network from 1982 - 83.

For Goldman, there's no place like NPR for sports coverage. "For my particular beat, I am reminded why I work for NPR every time I'm forced to go into a locker room or attend a press conference and hear the inane back and forth between most sports reporters and athletes. I think to myself at times like that... thank God I don't have to say things like, 'You HAD to feel good about your performance tonight' or ask 'Those 17 points in the third quarter... were you just feeling it?'"

He admits that his open mindedness combined with an inherited sense of skepticism ("which allows me to zero in on the tremendous amount of BS in the sports world... the hype, the promotion, the image-making") and a real love of sport, motivates him to find the meaningful stories that reveal something about who we are - no matter what our interest or ability in athletics. With significant national media focus on professional sports, Goldman is always looking for new angles on stories "particularly at the mega-events, the absurdly bloated spectacles like the Super Bowl."

While the sports world is his business, Goldman admits he's no stranger to the crack of the bat, the thwack of the racket, or the swish of the net in his personal life

 

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9:54am

Thu August 7, 2014
Sports

NCAA Vote Could Boost Student-Athletes' Benefits, Big Schools' Power

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 10:46 am

NCAA President Mark Emmert answers a question at an April 6 news conference in Arlington, Texas.
David J. Phillip AP

Major college sports programs could take a significant step today toward sharing their wealth with the student-athletes whose performances help line their coffers.

The NCAA Board of Directors is expected to vote this afternoon on a plan to restructure Division I athletics, which would give the five biggest athletic conferences autonomy in making certain rules and provide so-called enhanced benefits to student-athletes.

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7:52am

Sun July 13, 2014
Sports

Can Brazil Regain Soccer Glory With Beauty Over Brawn?

Originally published on Sun July 13, 2014 10:09 am

Brazil fans on Copacabana Beach were subdued during the third-place game against the Netherlands on Saturday. The national team gave them little to cheer about.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Copacabana Beach is supposed to be fun, but it wasn't Saturday night, after the Netherlands beat Brazil 3-0 in the World Cup third-place game.

That loss came on the heels of the 7-1 drubbing by Germany earlier in the week. It's the first time since 1940 that Brazil has lost consecutive home games, prompting calls for change in a country long associated with soccer splendor.

Sunday's championship match pits Germany against Argentina in Rio de Janeiro. But for Brazilian fans, the tournament that began a month ago with so much hope for the host country has ended with a thud.

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3:36pm

Sat June 21, 2014
Latin America

World Cup Stadium In The Amazon Is Nice, But Is It Needed?

Originally published on Sat June 21, 2014 4:19 pm

The $300 million Arena de Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil, is hosting four games of the World Cup. Some say the country should have spent their money on more important things.
Odd Andersen AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. plays Portugal in a key World Cup match on Sunday, and it is in the tournament's most exotic locale: Manaus.

Manaus is a teeming city of nearly 2 million in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. But it's not some remote outpost; it's the sixth richest city in Brazil, thanks to its Free Trade Zone designation bringing big business like Nokia, Honda and Harley-Davidson.

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2:29pm

Mon June 16, 2014
Sports

U.S. Soccer Hopes To Shake Shadow Of Recent History Against Ghana

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 6:20 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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3:22am

Mon June 16, 2014
Sports

U.S. World Cup Team To Take The Field Against Ghana

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 7:45 am

After months of analysis about America's chances in Brazil, it's time for the U.S. men's soccer team to play. Monday's game against Ghana begins a U.S. campaign through the so-called group of death.

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