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.

Basketball fans love two types of March Madness matchups.

David vs Goliath. The classic little school against big school with the hope that little prevails.

And then there's power vs power. While we may lose the shock of an underdog win, we gain the potential awesomeness of two complete, deep basketball teams going at each other and seeing who's left standing.

In other words, Gonzaga vs Baylor 2021.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

For college basketball fans, March Madness is back and a historic wait is over. Last year, for the first time ever, the wildly popular men's and women's Division 1 basketball tournaments were canceled because of the pandemic. Play starts today in the main draw of the men's tournament; the women start Sunday.

A year's worth of pent up excitement is about to burst, although still muted somewhat by the coronavirus.

Here to help guide, an A – Z of March Madness.

March Madness Gears Up

Mar 17, 2021

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

The head coach for the top-ranked team in women's college basketball has tested positive for the coronavirus. Geno Auriemma of the University of Connecticut confirmed the diagnosis just days before the NCAA championship tournament is set to begin. UConn is a number one seed.

Auriemma is isolating at home. "I feel great – I don't have any symptoms so it came as a complete shock to me and my medical staff. We've been testing every day," Auriemma told reporters Monday evening via teleconference.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And now, as they say on T-shirts all over America, it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

It appears, with less than five months to go, the Tokyo Olympics will happen.

Organizers continue to insist the Games that were postponed last year, are on, despite lingering uncertainty.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Across the country, coal-burning power plants are closing. Wind turbines and solar farms are expanding. This transition cleans the air. It reduces greenhouse emissions. But it can also be painful. In North Dakota, some local officials are trying to keep a coal plant alive by blocking construction of new wind power. NPR's Dan Charles has more.

When Tiger Woods conquered the golf world a couple of decades ago, it spurred a wave of minority participation in a game historically closed to people of color.

That wave still hasn't hit the sport's highest levels.

But some are making inroads, including African American golfer Kamaiu Johnson.

When the 27-year-old tees off on Thursday, in the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, it'll mark his debut on the PGA Tour.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Sunday, the Super Bowl will offer up history when the Kansas City Chiefs play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa.

That alone is historic. It's the first time a team has played a Super Bowl in its home stadium.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

For more than 50 years, the NCAA has imposed academic rules to make sure college athletes aren't just athletes, and the decades-long process has generated plenty of controversy.

Critics claim the academic standards, and the penalties for not meeting them, discriminate against Black college athletes and Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Life has become more challenging, and potentially dangerous, as winter weather forces more people inside during the coronavirus pandemic.

And the concerns extend to the world of sports.

A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll with the Center for Sports Communication at Marist College reveals 56% of American sports fans believe people should not be participating in indoor team sports such as basketball.

There's been a significant suspension for doping in Major League Baseball.

MLB announced Wednesday that New York Mets second baseman Robinson Canó will miss all of next season, without pay, after he tested positive for an anabolic steroid banned by baseball.

Canó's ban is 162 games, the length of a normal MLB regular season. He also has to forfeit his $24 million salary for 2021.

Professional and college sports are playing through the pandemic, although it's taken a toll.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

For Major League Baseball, it's on to the postseason.

This year, that's saying a lot.

The sport wrapped up its regular season Sunday and got through it without being in a protective bubble like other leagues. There were COVID-19 outbreaks and postponed games.

There still could be problems in the playoffs.

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SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

America's most popular spectator sport is back. Albeit with fewer spectators because of the pandemic.

A new NFL season, the league's 101st, begins Thursday night in Kansas City with the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs hosting the Houston Texans.

And here's a surprise. Fans at sporting events are a rarity these days, but in fact, there'll be a far-from-capacity crowd at Arrowhead Stadium, with a slew of COVID-19 precautions waiting for them.

A semi-full slate of college football games is scheduled for this weekend as a season unfolds....anxiously.

Already, two of the five major Division 1 conference have decided not to play this fall because of the coronavirus.

The NBA playoffs will resume.

But not before a second day of postponed games.

In a statement, the league said Thursday's playoff games won't be played as scheduled.

"We are hopeful to resume games either Friday or Saturday."

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The pandemic had already shortened the baseball season. And now less than a week into it, there are big problems with the coronavirus.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

The Summer Olympics in Tokyo were supposed to start Friday.

The Games were, of course, postponed until next July because of the coronavirus outbreak. It forced thousands of athletes to pause and re-order their training schedules.

But some decided a year was too long to wait.

The run-don't-walk Major League Baseball season begins Thursday night.

Normally it's a 162-game stroll. But the Washington Nationals vs New York Yankees opener, in D.C., represents the beginning of a 60-game sprint through a pandemic shortened schedule.

Florida continues to see record coronavirus cases and, at the same time, delays in getting test results.

But that's not the case for NBA and Major League Soccer athletes playing in the Orlando area. Their season restarts have included frequent and quick COVID-19 testing.

The discrepancy is raising ethical questions about the process.

Not helpful, and potentially dangerous

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been criticized for his handling of the coronavirus outbreak, including opening the state early, in the beginning of May.

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