PERSONAL: Born in Toledo, OH. Education: Northwestern University, B.A. (journalism), 1980, M.A. (journalism), 1981.
ADDRESSES: Home—Washington, DC. Agent—Keppler Associates Inc., 4350 Fairfax Drive, Suite 700, Arlington, VA 22203; fax: 703-516-4819.
CAREER: Journalist, author, television and radio commentator, and sports writer. Miami Herald, Miami, FL, sportswriter, 1981-84; Washington Post, Washington, DC, reporter and sportswriter, 1984-86; USA Today, Washington, DC, sports columnist, 1997—. American Broadcasting Company (ABC), on-air Olympics commentator, 1996, 1998, 2000; Entertainment & Sports Network (ESPN), on-air Olympics commentator, 2002; National Public Radio (NPR), Morning Edition commentator; ESPN Radio, commentator; WMAL Radio, commentator. Has appeared on television programs, including SportsCenter, Nightline, Good Morning America, and World News Tonight. Association for Women in Sports Media, president, 1988-90.
MEMBER: Northwestern University Council of One Hundred.
AWARDS, HONORS: Ohio Women's Hall of Fame, 1995; Top Ten sports columnists, nation's largest newspapers category, Associated Press Sports Editors, 2001 and 2003; Reed-Sarratt Award, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 2002; Top 100 sports books of all time recognition, Sports Illustrated, 2002, for Inside Edge; Golf's Twelve Heroes of the Year recognition, Sports Illustrated, 2002; Jake Wade Award, College Sports Information Directors of America, 2003, for outstanding media contribution to intercollegiate athletics; Pioneer Award, Association for Women in Sports Media, 2004; Medill School of Journalism Hall of Achievement, Northwestern University, 2004; Women's Sports Foundation journalism award, four-time winner; Ohioana Library Association book award, for Edge of Glory; Woman of Achievement, Capital Press Women; inducted into Jim Murray Memorial Foundation Journalist's Hall of Fame.
The Miracle of Miami: The Inside Story of theHurricanes' Championship Season, Miami Herald Publishing (Miami, FL), 1984.
(With Tracy Austin) Beyond Center Court: My Story, Morrow (New York, NY), 1992.
Inside Edge: A Revealing Journey into the SecretWorld of Figure Skating, Scribner (New York, NY), 1996.
Champions on Ice, foreword by Brian Boitano, McClelland & Stewart (Plattsburgh, NY), 2002.
Edge of Glory: The Inside Story of the Quest forFigure Skating's Olympic Gold Medals, Scribner (New York, NY), 1999.
Work has appeared in sports anthologies
SIDELIGHTS: Sports writer and commentator Christine Brennan was the first female sportswriter at the Miami Herald. She has since reported on a number of scandals and controversies in sports, including the pairs figure skating judging scandal at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah; the membership policies of August National Golf Club; and steroid use in baseball and other professional sports. Brennan is also the author of several sports chronicles, among them 1984's The Miracle of Miami: The Inside Story of the Hurricanes' Championship Season and Beyond Center Court: My Story, which she coauthored with tennis champion Tracy Austin in 1992.
Brennan's book Inside Edge: A Revealing Journey into the Secret World of Figure Skating offers insight into one of the most highly viewed sports in America. Following the competition season from October 1994 through April 1995, Brennan focuses on the main players, including Michelle Kwan and Todd Eldredge. Margalit Fox, writing in New York Times Book Review, commented that Brennan "knows her subject intimately, and the book effectively conveys the sport's everyday rigors and privations: the separation from family and friends, the crushing expense . . . the grueling regimen of practice and competition."
In addition to examining the skaters themselves, Brennan also highlights lesser-known aspects of the sport, including the role of agents, the politics of judging, eating disorders, and the increasing number of skaters who have died of AIDS. Figure skater Brian Boitano criticized Brennan's coverage of AIDS in skating, calling it a "non-issue," reported Michael H. Hodges in the Detroit News. According to Hodges, Brennan disagreed, saying "it was impossible to intensively follow the 1994-95 skating season without becoming aware that AIDS is a 'huge, huge issue in skating.'" Hodges stated that "AIDS felled both 1972 and 1976 Olympic gold medalists, Czechoslovak Ondrej Nepela and Briton John Curry respectively, and cut a swath through the elite Canadian circuit, including 1988 bronze-winner Rob McCall." By 1992, Hodges wrote, "at least forty top Canadian and American male skaters and coaches had died from complications of AIDS."
Brennan "is superbly qualified to do a book about the sport," observed Genevieve Stuttaford in Publishers Weekly. Stuttaford also stated that Brennan is not interested so much in scandal as she is in how months of work and thousands of dollars of investment in training and equipment "can be lost by a couple of missteps in a single four-minute program." In Inside Edge, asserted Wes Lukowsky, writing in Booklist, "Brennan offers an evenhanded examination of a sport that she believes combines the beauty of Rodgers and Hammerstein with the suspense of Alfred Hitchcock." Praising Brennan's writing style, Philip Hersh pointed out in the Chicago Tribune that "what separates Brennan's book from anything previously written about the sport is her effortless attractive writing and her eye for telling detail."
Brennan returned to in-depth coverage of skating with Edge of Glory: The Inside Story of the Quest for Figure Skating's Olympic Gold Medals. The book "takes a behind-the-scenes look at figure skaters in the year leading up to the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan," noted Jo-Ann Barnas in Detroit Free Press. The portraits of famed skaters that emerge from the book are not always complimentary. For example, the book "reveals some unflattering moments of [Tara] Lipinski's Olympic quest and portrays her camp in constant disarray," Barnas remarked. Brennan also described some of the volatile emotional outbursts Lipinski directed at her mother, Pat Lipinski. Though Lipinski's mother, father, and agent criticized the book, Brennan defended her work in Barnas's article. Brennan told Barnas: "The sections on Tara were based on on-the-record and taped conversations with Tara Lipinski and her mother. I'm very proud of my work. [Lipinski agent Mike Burg] may call it gossip. I think most of us would call it journalism."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Atlanta Constitution, January 7, 1996, D'Ann Matthews, review of Inside Edge: A Revealing Journey into the Secret World of Figure Skating, p. L11.
Booklist, August, 1992, Wes Lukowsky, review of Beyond Center Court: My Story, p. 1989; January 1, 1996, Lukowsky, review of Inside Edge, p. 776.
Chicago Tribune, January 18, 1996, Philip Hersh, "Myths Melt in Pair of Figure Skating Books," review of Inside Edge, Sports section, p. 5.
Denver Post, April 14, 1998, Michael Kane, "What Are We Doing to These Girls?," interview with Brennan, p. D10.
Detroit Free Press, March 23, 1998, Jo-Ann Barnas, review of Edge of Glory: The Inside Story of the Quest for Figure Skating's Olympic Gold Medals.
Detroit News, May 4, 1996, Michael H. Hodges, "Preview: Boitano Says Book Overplays AIDS' Toll on Figure Skating."
Library Journal, July, 1992, Melinda Stivers Leach, review of Beyond Center Court, p. 91.
New York Times Book Review, March 17, 1996, Margalit Fox, "On Thin Ice," review of Inside Edge, p. 27.
People, February 2, 1996, Susan Reed, review of InsideEdge.
Publishers Weekly, June 8, 1992, review of BeyondCenter Court, p. 46; December 4, 1995, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of Inside Edge, p. 50.
Sports Illustrated, April 29, 1996, "Iced Out," p. 18.
USA Today, August 29, 1997, Carol Herwig, "Skating Away to a Not-so-Magic Place," review of Inside Edge.
Washington Post, February 5, 1996, Leisl Schillinger, "A Not-so-Nice World on Ice," review of Inside Edge, p. C2; June 5, 1996, Howard Kurtz, "Skating Group to Admit Reporter," p. C11.
CBS SportsLine Web site,http://www.sportsline.com/ (June 10, 1998), Ray Buck, "Banning Reporter Puts U.S. Skating Bigwigs on Thin Ice."
Golden Skate Web site,http://www.goldenskate.com/ (July 27, 2004), interview with Brennan.
Keppler Associates Inc. Web site,http://www.kepplerassociates.com/ (July 27, 2004), "Christine Brennan."*