Sports Journalists who changed sports
On this WORLD SPORTS JOURNALISTS DAY, Sports & Management Research Institute (SMRI) salutes GABRIEL HANOT, HENRI DESGRANGE and GLADYS HELDMAN, three sports journalists, who changed sports forever and the sports world must remember forever.
Gabriel Hanot was a French national football player. After an aviation accident, he gave up football and became a journalist at L’Équipe. He was one of the founding fathers of professionalism in French football and the professional football championship in France. The European Cup, the predecessor of the UEFA Champions League was the brainchild of Gabriel Hanot and his colleague Jacques Ferran. Hanot was the man behind the installation of Ballon d’Or, the world’s most celebrated football award.
Henri Desgrange was a noted French bicycle racer and sports journalist, who is the first organizer of the Tour de France, the most renowned cycling contest in the world. The idea came from another journalist Géo Lefèvre. Tour de France was organized to increase the circulation of the sports newspaper, L’Auto.
Gladys Heldman was one of the major propagators of gender equality in sports. She was an American tennis player and magazine publisher and started the World Tennis magazine, ‘a magazine written by and for the players’. Post-Open Era, Heldman saw a gaping disparity in the prize money between men and women. Gladys created the 1970 Houston Women’s Invitation (known as Virginia Slims Invitation), the first women-only tennis tournament in protest to the unfair distribution of prize money in tennis tournaments. When the US Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA) voted to abandon National Indoor Championships because of financial losses, Gladys underwrote the losses and made 8,000 USD profit. She supported Billie Jean King and the other eight female tennis players famously known as the Houston Nine to form Women’s Tennis Association. Gladys was a prime mover in the development of American tennis through the World Tennis magazine.
These 3 sports journalists remind us of one thing. “The duty of sports journalists never end with reporting sports. They are responsible to transform sports”
Sijin B T, the sports management guru & sports thinker is the founder of Sports & Management Research Institute (SMRI). He is a business coach, writer, sports consultant, management consultant and sports promoter.
(Read: THE GAME CHANGERS WHO CHANGED SPORTS FOREVER by Sijin BT to know about the real game-changers who transformed sports Click here to read THE GAME CHANGERS)