2021 California Journalism Awards - Print Division

Sports Feature Story ( Dailies: 50,001 & over) Back

  • Place Name: First Place
    Contestant Name: Los Angeles Times
    Entry Title: Quantifying Greatness: What Makes Katie Ledecky the Most Dominant Olympic Swimmer?
    Entry Credit: Nathan Fenno
    Judge Comment: “Quantifying Greatness” is a joy to read. A strong lede, with the story rolling right along from there. Nathan Fenno’s reporting and writing skillfully explore the charm and conundrum of swimmer Katie Ledecky. It’s both a profile and an interrogation of physics, physiology, performance, personality, persistence. My guess is that it would be as appealing to experts in competitive swimming and as it is to those with zero knowledge. Appreciation for the thorough research and visual writing — the little girl windmilling in the pool; the Olympic phenom knifing through the water. The ending nicely circles back to the beginning, offering a lovely meditation on sports — that maybe we don’t always have to figure things out. Photos and graphics match the strength of the writing. It’s an exceptional package.
  • Place Name: Second Place
    Contestant Name: The Orange County Register
    Entry Title: One giant leap: Mike Powell’s long jump record endures 30 years later
    Entry Credit: Scott M. Reid
    Judge Comment: A 30-year-old record in the long jump makes for a compelling read in this thoroughly researched and reported story. In addition to being the tale of Mike Powell’s rivalry, triumph, notoriety and then obscurity, it’s also a dive into the history of the long jump. Nicely worded throughout, for example: “… an eerie and humid night already thick with an electric tension” and “… soaring past the 1970s, past the 1980s, decades where the world’s best jumpers believed Beamon’s record was unapproachable …” Well done.
  • Place Name: Third Place
    Contestant Name: San Francisco Chronicle
    Entry Title: San Francisco Chronicle: Oakland's Warrior
    Entry Credit: Connor Letourneau
    Judge Comment: An engaging and heartfelt profile of Golden State Warriors player Juan Toscano-Anderson. Connor Letourneau’s writing style is direct, letting the details of Toscano-Anderson’s challenging childhood speak for themselves. This straightforward approach avoids a tragic-figure narrative, connecting the reader to the strength and generosity of Toscano-Anderson. Photos of Toscano-Anderson on and off the court plus images of his mother, teacher and others important to his life complete the package.
  • Place Name: Fourth Place
    Contestant Name: The San Diego Union-Tribune
    Entry Title: One-of-a-kind Olympian is on a 'majestical' roll
    Entry Credit: Mark Zeigler
    Judge Comment: A fun story and refreshing take on sports. Bryce Wettstein is an artist, ukulele player, reader, word inventor, high school student — and one of the nation’s best women skateboarders. Her personality comes through in this enjoyable story. She’s most interested in being true to herself. Great quotes give readers insights into Bryce and life philosophy from the vantage point of being 17. The photos — colorful images of the backyard pool and of Bryce — match the story and strengthen the package.
  • Place Name: Fifth Place
    Contestant Name: The Orange County Register
    Entry Title: Ducks goalies benefit from Sudarshan Maharaj's diverse experience
    Entry Credit: Elliott Teaford
    Judge Comment: From a Caribbean childhood to coaching ice-hockey goalies, Sudarshan Maharaj has a great story to share. And Elliott Teaford has done a beautiful job writing it. He writes with clarity, nicely distilling key ideas (“It wasn’t only the winters that could be cold and uninviting).