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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3:13am

Wed June 27, 2012
NPR Story

College Presidents Approve Switch To Football Playoff System

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 5:08 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

College football fans are belting out a one word chant this morning: Finally. As in finally, there's a post-season playoff at the sport's highest level. Yesterday, a committee of college presidents approved a four-team, three game plan. When it starts in 2014, it'll end major college football's isolation as the only big time team sport that does not decide its championship with a playoff. NPR's Tom Goldman has more.

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3:47pm

Fri June 22, 2012
Sports

40 Years On, Title IX Still Shapes Female Athletes

Originally published on Fri June 22, 2012 4:30 pm

Michelle Marciniak (right) of the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers attempts to elude the defensive pressure of Nykesha Sales of the UConn Huskies during the 1996 NCAA Women's Final Four.
Matthew Stockman Getty Images

Title IX, which turns 40 on Saturday, has helped reverse years of bias, banning sex discrimination in federally funded schools and colleges.

Its guarantee of equal access to sports was a small part of the original legislation. But it's become the most recognizable part of Title IX. That guarantee has not always played out, and the law has its critics. For four decades, however, it's played a huge part in shaping lives.

'I Can Handle This World'

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2:43am

Fri June 22, 2012
NPR Story

LeBron James Leads Heat To NBA Title

Originally published on Fri June 22, 2012 5:17 am

The Miami Heat are the new NBA champions. Thursday night in Miami, they beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5, 121 to 106. LeBron James had 26 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists.

5:00am

Wed June 13, 2012

3:23pm

Sat May 12, 2012
History

How Teddy Saved Football

Originally published on Sat May 12, 2012 4:05 pm

Football is a violent game, but a century ago it used to be a lethal pastime. NPR's Tom Goldman explains how President Teddy Roosevelt stepped in and forced the establishment of new rules that made the game safer.

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