Tom Goldman

Tom Goldman is NPR's sports correspondent. His reports can be heard throughout NPR's news programming, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and on NPR.org.

With a beat covering the entire world of professional sports, both in and outside of the United States, Goldman reporting covers the broad spectrum of athletics from the people to the business of athletics.

During his nearly 30 years with NPR, Goldman has covered every major athletic competition including the Super Bowl, the World Series, the NBA Finals, golf and tennis championships, and the Olympic Games.

His pieces are diverse and include both perspective and context. Goldman often explores people's motivations for doing what they do, whether it's solo sailing around the world or pursuing a gold medal. In his reporting, Goldman searches for the stories about the inspirational and relatable amateur and professional athletes.

Goldman contributed to NPR's 2009 Edward R. Murrow award for his coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and to a 2010 Murrow Award for contribution to a series on high school football, "Friday Night Lives." Earlier in his career, Goldman's piece about Native American basketball players earned a 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.

In January 1990, Goldman came to NPR to work as an associate producer for sports with Morning Edition. For the next seven years he reported, edited, and produced stories and programs. In June 1997, he became NPR's first full-time sports correspondent.

For five years before NPR, Goldman worked as a news reporter and then news director in local public radio. In 1984, he spent a year living on an Israeli kibbutz. Two years prior he took his first professional job in radio in Anchorage, Alaska, at the Alaska Public Radio Network.

With a new NFL season starting, concerns about head injuries in football are expected to ramp up again.

But now the discussion is expanding to women's soccer. On the heels of this summer's World Cup, researchers are preparing to study the potential toll on women from a lifetime of head impacts, including heading the ball.

Expanding research

Fans of the World Cup champion U.S. women's national soccer team are getting what they want.

More.

The team began a victory tour last weekend. It runs until October.

It's a heady time for women's soccer. But other women's sports want to take advantage of the moment as well. And they're hoping to overcome cultural obstacles that traditionally have made their sports less relevant.

Powerful potential

The celebration of the Women's World Cup soccer championship shifts this week from France to New York City. On Wednesday, the U.S. Women's National Team will be honored with a ticker tape parade and keys to the city, following its 2-0 win over the Netherlands in Sunday's final in France.

Every now and then, boxing fights its way back into the crowded sports headlines. Saturday was one of those moments.

Little-known Andy Ruiz Jr. gave sports fans a new Rocky moment. The 29-year-old fighter beat the favored and previously undefeated Anthony Joshua at Madison Square Garden in New York, and he became the heavyweight champion of the world.

Or, to be specific, Ruiz became the champion of the confusing, alphabet soup world of boxing. He's now the top heavyweight in the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO fight-sanctioning bodies.

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The famed horse racing track, Santa Anita Park, is up and running after being closed for much of last month following a spike in racehorse deaths. Since the end of December 2018, 23 thoroughbreds have died — mostly due to injuries from racing or training. The fatalities have forced the horse racing industry, and the public, to take a hard look at the sport and some of the issues that have been debated for years: Are the economics of horse racing taking priority over the animals' health and welfare? Should racehorses be medicated and, if so, how much?

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Sunday in Atlanta, Super Bowl LIII matches the New England Patriots against the Los Angeles Rams.

Again.

Well not exactly. Seventeen years ago, it was the St. Louis Rams.

But there are parallels between Super Bowls LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and XXXVI at what is now the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, beyond luxury cars.

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The Super Bowl is Sunday of course - the New England Patriots against the Los Angeles Rams. NPR's Tom Goldman follows the NFL for us and is here to give us a preview. Tom, good morning.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Good morning, Steve.

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Time now for sports.

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Bernice Sandler, the "godmother of Title IX" who died Saturday at the age of 90, is being remembered this week for her lifelong fight to reverse decades of institutional bias in U.S. schools and open new paths for women and girls.

It all started in an elementary school in Brooklyn, N.Y., when Sandler was a determined little girl nicknamed Bunny. She was offended by the way the boys got to do all the classroom activities.

"For example, running a slide projector," says Marty Langelan, who was Sandler's friend and colleague for nearly 50 years.

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Tim Green first noticed the symptoms about five years ago.

The former NFL player, whose strength was a job requirement, suddenly found his hands weren't strong enough to use a nail clipper. His words didn't come out as fast as he was thinking them.

"I'm a strange guy," Tim says. "I get something in my head and I can just run with it. I was really afraid I had ALS. But there was enough doubt that I said, 'Alright, I don't. Let's not talk about it. Let's not do anything.' "

Denying pain and injury had been a survival strategy in football.

The Malheur Enterprise was founded in 1909, and, like many other newspapers, was languishing. But in the past few years, its circulation has surged and it has won several national awards. Perhaps surprisingly, the weekly paper's turnaround and increased popularity happened in a part of the state that strongly supports President Trump, who continues to lash out at the media.

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CTE has been part of the national lexicon in the U.S. since the 2015 movie Concussion dramatized the discovery of this degenerative brain disease among football players.

Croatia has advanced to its first-ever World Cup final in men's soccer. The Croatian National team came from behind and upset favored England 2-to-1 in a semifinal match decided in extra time on Wednesday in Moscow.

Croatia was supposed to be a tired team coming into the match.

Its previous two games went to extra time and then emotionally draining penalty shootouts. But if anything, the grueling lead-up to the clash against England solidified Croatia's mental toughness, which served the Croats well on Wednesday.

With a few minutes left in game two of the NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors, this past Sunday, something unremarkable happened: Quinn Cook scored.

It was a layup, and it happened when the game already was decided and the bench players, like Warriors reserve guard Cook, were on the court. Unremarkable. Still, there was Cook in a Warriors uniform, playing and scoring in the Finals. Kind of amazing for those who followed his story.

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Today, at the Winter Olympics, Team USA did not get the results it was hoping for, in skiing or in men's figure skating. We have two reports from our Olympic team in Pyeongchang, beginning with NPR's Tom Goldman.

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