Tom Goldman | WAMC

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.

Japan's Naomi Osaka is out of the Tokyo Olympics after losing on Tuesday in straight sets to Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic in the third round.

The loss is a major upset and a shock to the host country. Osaka is considered the face of these Games and lit the cauldron during the Olympic opening ceremony a few days ago.

Updated July 25, 2021 at 4:46 AM ET

TOKYO — The golf world is reeling after two of the best golfers will miss the Tokyo Summer Olympics because of the coronavirus. World #1 Jon Rahm of Spain and #6 Bryson DeChambeau of the U.S. both tested positive before leaving for Japan.

Updated July 23, 2021 at 4:01 PM ET

TOKYO — In some ways, the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics looks very normal. Delegations of athletes decked out in clothes representing their countries march triumphantly into the stadium, waving flags. A beautifully choreographed spectacle from the host country, Japan, celebrates its art and traditions.

It's Opening Ceremony day in Tokyo, heralding the official start to another Olympics. Although we've already had two days of sports competition, there's the knowledge that once the smoke settles after tonight's ceremony-ending fireworks, the gates are flung open to 16 straight days of unprecedented drama.

As a reporter, it'll be fine to have a daily plan — but as always, I'll be ready to wad it up and throw it away as unforeseen stories capture the imagination.

So at this point, there is a sameness about these Tokyo Games.

The Tokyo Summer Olympics officially begin Friday with the Opening Ceremony.

But the sports actually start today (8 p.m. ET).

Host nation Japan kicks off competition with a softball game against Australia.

With three first-day games (the other two are top-ranked U.S. vs Italy and Mexico vs Canada), softball is in the Olympic spotlight after being out of it for the past 13 years.

The NBA has long been considered the most progressive of the major professional sports leagues – teams and especially players have taken the lead with their activism and focus on social issues.

But coaching hires this week have critics wondering whether the NBA has taken a step back.

A difficult moment

As new Portland Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups sat down for his introductory press conference on Tuesday, it was a difficult moment.

A new era in college sports begins this week.

Following Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear's executive order allowing college athletes to be compensated for the use of their name, image and likeness — known by its abbreviation "NIL" — at least seven states will put into effect NIL laws, on Thursday. The laws allow athletes to make money for things like endorsement deals, signing autographs and social media content.

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And now it's time for sports.

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College sports are about to change dramatically and Congress needs to act quickly in order to ensure fairness.

That was the message Wednesday on Capitol Hill, at a lengthy senate hearing about new state laws that'll allow college athletes to make money off the use of their name, image and likeness. The money would not be from the athlete's school.

NBA fans have been flooding back into arenas for the playoffs.

The presence of ticket-purchasing and merchandise-buying humans, missing for more than a year during the coronavirus pandemic, has been a welcome sight for the cash-strapped league. Players have loved feeding off the excitement of live audiences.

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Now it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

You know what time it is? Time for sports.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And I wait all week to say, and now it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

No matter what happens during the week, I love to say it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And now it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, 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.

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