Journalism Showcase

ESPN’s “Journalism Showcase” – July 29, 2016

From the day Olympians receive gold medals, their lives are never the same.

I wondered what it must feel like to be told, sometimes years after the fact, that you’re an Olympic champion. For every doping positive, there are athletes whose entire lives were affected.
– T.J. Quinn on the premise for OTL’s “Delayed Gold”

Often forgotten is the name of the silver or bronze medalists, but those who win the gold are long-remembered and the financial benefits are sometimes plentiful.

But what happens when a gold medalist is found cheating, when the shining moment really belonged to a runner-up?

For Sunday’s Outside the Lines (9 a.m. ET, ESPN), reporter T.J. Quinn and producer Andrew Lockett spoke with the Olympians whose futures would look a lot different had they received their gold at the time it was deserved.

“I wondered what it must feel like to be told, sometimes years after the fact, that you’re an Olympic champion,” Quinn said. “For every doping positive, there are athletes whose entire lives were affected.”

OTL’s “Delayed Gold” focuses the lens on the clean athletes. It gives viewers an opportunity to walk in their shoes and feel the emotions they felt.

“When [Canadian cross-country skier] Beckie Scott says it really gutted her that the two Russians cheated, it is a powerful moment in the piece,” Lockett said. “You see all three of the women smiling in the Olympic fellowship and Beckie is being completely duped in that exact moment.”

Quinn and Lockett hope the piece will have a lasting effect on people, especially heading into the 2016 Summer Olympics.

“The entire anti-doping movement is based on the idea of protecting clean athletes,” said Quinn. “So, as we head to Rio, what does it say that 18 years into the modern anti-doping movement there are still so many athletes caught cheating every year?”

Nine doping cases were reported in the 2012 London Olympics, a decrease from the 20 reported in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Will the pattern continue in Rio?

“I hope viewers are outraged,” said Lockett. “Recent headlines highlight the doping problem but people don’t realize the delayed gold outcome and what a total rip off emotionally and fiscally that is for the athletes who were and who are competing clean.”

If the video below does not play on your device, click here.

OTL producer Andrew Lockett on Sunday’s feature

Sunday’s edition of Outside the Lines (9 a.m., ESPN) tells the story of two Olympians – U.S. shot putter Adam Nelson and Canadian cross-country skier Beckie Scott – who received gold medals years after the Olympic games concluded when their respective opponent’s drug use was uncovered.

Although there is nothing pretty about the experience these athletes endured, the production of “Delayed Gold” revealed various glimpses of beauty.

“Adam and Beckie are just tremendous people who I really enjoyed spending time with,” said producer Andrew Lockett.

For two athletes who were robbed of one of the greatest moments of their lives, Nelson and Scott were gracious and generous with the crew of OTL.

“They were both really giving of their time,” Lockett said.

Nelson lives in Athens, Ga., where temperatures rise beyond 100 degrees. Scott resides in the cooler Canadian mountains.

“The two climates presented very different shooting environments,” Lockett said. “We were able to get some great video of them training in dramatically different backdrops.”

Beckie Scott running in her hometown in Canada.
Cross-country skier Beckie Scott runs near her home in Canada. (Andrew Lockett/ESPN)

— By Molly Mita

Journalism on Display

  • This August in Rio will bring the final act to Michael Phelps’ unrivaled career in the pool. This time, it’s a story about far more than world records or gold medals: It’s a tale about a young boy growing into a man, including a stint in rehab. In Sunday’s SC Featured segment on SportsCenter, Phelps’ father talks candidly about his relationship with his son and the meeting in rehab that brought them back together. Wayne Drehs reports. The feature will debut in the 10 a.m. SportsCenter and re-air in other editions of the program throughout the day.
  • Jim Thorpe, Pa., is named after one of the greatest athletes ever, but also one who never set foot in the town. ESPN.com writer Kurt Streeter tells the story first reported by Jeremy Schaap in 2004 of the dispute between Thorpe’s family and a town over the remains of a beloved figure.
  • Despite what most would think, life has not been easy for five-time Olympic medalist Allison Schmitt. After capturing her fifth and final medal at the 2012 London Olympics, Schmitt’s life began a downward spiral. ESPN.com writer Bonnie Ford tells Schmitt’s incredible story of how she turned fighting depression and coping with her cousin’s suicide, into a way of building awareness for those with mental illnesses.
  • Four-time Emmy-winning ESPN reporter Shelley Smith will be the recipient of the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation’s “Sports Journalist of the Year Award” on Saturday, Oct. 29, at the JMMF “Day at the Races & Monte Carlo Night” event.
  • Panelists on Sunday morning’s The Sports Reporters (9:30 a.m., ESPN; 10:30 a.m., ESPN;, 11:00 a.m., ESPNEWS) will be John Saunders (host), Jemele Hill, Bob Ryan and Jeremy Schaap.

— By Molly Mita

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