Sports writers gear up for big events just like the athletes do.
Take the just completed U.S. Gymnastics Olympic Trials.While America's top gymnasts were putting everything they had into trying to make the Olympic team, the Deseret News writers, desk crew and photographers were giving their best efforts to produce outstanding sports sections. An Olympic trial doesn't come your way very often.
First, there were planning sessions with the writers - gymnastics beat writer Linda Hamilton, Sports Editor Lee Benson and feature writer Doug Robinson - and the photographers, under the direction of Photo Editor Tom Smart, to map out procedures for each day. Weekends were particularly critical because of deadlines for morning delivery. By being enterprising and resourceful, we were able to get most of the results with excellent photos in our weekend first edition papers.
The ironman - or ironwoman - award has to go to Hamilton. She not only did her usual excellent job in chronicling each evening's event, but provided insight into the world of gymnastics for the casual fan with her perceptive introduction stories and charts, which she updated continually to give the readers the information on who was doing what at a glance.
Not only did she provide insight for the readers but also her colleagues, who relied heavily on her knowledge in order to write intelligent stories. Hamilton is respected in the local gymnastics community for her coverage of the University of Utah lady gymnasts. She has chronicled their rise and has covered their six national championships. She met the many challenges of covering a major national event.
Her days were long ones. She would start early to get a handle on her advance material, attend various press conferences and practice sessions in the afternoon, then work well past midnight reporting on that particular day's competition.
Toward the end of the week she was joking about finding a hospital with a computer hookup just in case she had to spend the last session or two there.
A big assist goes to Assistant Managing Editor Don Woodward who pushed for the color sections while encouraging the sports staff to get as many results as possible under the deadline restrictions.