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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9:46am

Sun October 21, 2012
Sports

On Your Mark, Ready, Set ... Golf!

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 6:03 am

In speed golf, players run between holes carrying their clubs and often finish an 18-hole round in less than an hour.
iStockphoto

3:38pm

Fri August 10, 2012
The Torch

Gaming The Games: The Rules That Got Bent In London

Originally published on Fri August 10, 2012 6:06 pm

Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa celebrates his gold medal in the men's 100m breaststroke. He later admitted that he took extra dolphin kicks during his swim, a violation of the rules.
Adam Pretty Getty Images

The London Summer Olympics are winding down, and by most accounts, the games have been a success. There were plenty of "thrill of victory, agony of defeat" moments; big, enthusiastic crowds — although there were too many blocks of empty seats; and for those who like a helping of scandal served up at their Olympics, there was that, too.

It wasn't the usual scourge of doping. Instead, the London Olympics had incidents of bending the rules and ethics of sport.

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10:49am

Wed August 8, 2012
The Torch

Allyson Felix Wins Gold In Women's 200 Meters

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 8:29 am

American sprinter Allyson Felix leads the field on her way to winning the women's 200 meters gold medal in London's Olympic Stadium.
Quinn Rooney Getty Images

Allyson Felix has won the women's 200 meter race in London's Olympic Stadium, running a time of 21.88. Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce took the silver medal at 22.09, as she wasn't able to track Felix down in the closing stretch.

The four center lanes were stacked with speed, with Jamaica's Fraser-Pryce and defending gold medalist Veronica Campbell-Brown in lanes 4 and 5, respectively. Just outside of them were Americans Sanya Richards-Ross and Felix, in lanes 6 and 7. And on the outside, in lane 9, was Carmelita Jeter.

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3:24am

Wed August 8, 2012
Sports

U.S. Gymnast Raisman Wins Gold, Bronze Medals

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 9:52 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

The Fierce Five have finished their run at the London Summer Olympics. Fierce Five is the nickname given to America's whiz-kid female gymnasts - average age just a bit over 16. They started the Games by winning the most important gold medal, in the team event. They finished yesterday with their team captain finally getting a break that seemed elusive. From London, here's NPR's Tom Goldman.

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11:02am

Mon August 6, 2012
The Torch

U.S. Judo Athlete Delpopolo Disqualified Over Failed Drug Test

American judo athlete Nick Delpopolo has been disqualified from the London 2012 Games after failing a drug test, according to the International Olympic Committee. The 23-year-old Delpopolo tested positive for the substance THC, found in marijuana.

Delpopolo finished seventh in the 73 kg — or 160.5 pound — judo event. After the competition, his urine sample showed the presence of THC, a prohibited substance in Olympic sport.

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