Jenkins, Sally 1960(?)-
JENKINS, Sally 1960(?)-
ADDRESSES: Office—Washington Post, 1150 15th St., NW, Washington, DC 20071. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco, CA, sports journalist, 1982-83; Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Los Angeles, CA, gossip columnist, 1983; San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco, CA, journalist, 1983-84; Washington Post, sports journalist, 1984-90, Sports Illustrated, sports journalist, 1990-96; Conde Nast's Sports for Women, sports journalist, 1996; Washington Post, sports columnist and feature writer, 1996—.
AWARDS, HONORS: Pulitzer Prize nomination for reporting on the death of basketball star Len Bias; Columnist of the Year award, Associated Press, 2002; award for sports column writing, Quill magazine, 2002.
Men Will Be Boys: The Modern Woman Explains Football and Other Amusing Male Rituals, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1996.
(With Pat Summitt) Reach for the Summit: The Definite Dozen System for Succeeding at Whatever You Do, Broadway Books (New York, NY), 1998.
(With Pat Summitt) Raise the Roof: The Inspiring Inside Story of the Tennessee Lady Vols' Undefeated 1997-98 Season, Broadway Books (New York, NY), 1998.
(With Dean Smith and John Kilgo) A Coach's Life, Random House (New York, NY), 1999.
(With Lance Armstrong) It's Not about the Bike: My Journey Back to Life, Putnam (New York, NY), 2000.
(With Marla Runyan) No Finish Line: My Life as I See It, Putnam (New York, NY), 2001.
(With Lance Armstrong) Every Second Counts, Broadway Books (New York, NY), 2003.
Funny Cide: How a Horse, a Trainer, a Jockey, and a Bunch of High School Buddies Took on the Sheiks and Blue Bloods … and Won, Putnam (New York, NY), 2004.
ADAPTATIONS: Reach for the Summit was adapted as an audio book by Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, 1998; Funny Cide was adapted as an audio book by Penguin Audio, 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Sally Jenkins is a sports journalist and author whose books have detailed the lives of all kinds of champion athletes, from bicyclist Lance Armstrong to a thoroughbred race horse named Funny Cide. Jenkins grew up immersed in sports and journalism; her father was a staff writer for Sports Illustrated magazine, where Jenkins herself would later work. As a child, she had the opportunity to see Lee Trevino beat Jack Nicklaus in the British Open, and played with the children of another great golfer, Arnold Palmer. While attending Stanford University, Jenkins covered sports for the student newspaper, and further honed her journalistic skills by working as a stringer for the Associated Press. Following her graduation, she took a job as a sportswriter for the San Francisco Examiner. Though she considered her father a mentor, she also wanted to put some professional distance between them, so she remained on the West Coast for some time, working for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and the San Francisco Chronicle before returning East for a job with the Washington Post. For that paper she covered major sporting events, including tennis matches at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, and the Olympics. Jenkins and the rest of a reporting team at the Post were nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for their work on the sudden death of Maryland basketball star Len Bias. In 1990, she became one of only two female staff writers at Sports Illustrated magazine. There, Jenkins was particularly respected for her coverage of tennis. In May, 1994, she shocked the sport's establishment with an article that predicted the demise of the sport if it did not make some major reforms.
Jenkins's first book was Men Will Be Boys: The Modern Woman Explains Football and Other Amusing Male Rituals, a humorous look at the male-dominated world of sports. In one chapter, she imagines an all-female broadcast of a Monday Night Football game, and in another, she gives readers an imaginary transcript of the first Women's League football game, held in the year 2022. Jenkins is "sometimes hilarious, sometimes soapboxy," according to a Publishers Weekly reviewer. Although the humor is "uproarious," the book was less successful as a tract on women's role in sports.
Jenkins followed Men Will Be Boys with a pair of books coauthored with Pat Summitt, coach of the highly successful Lady Vols basketball team at the University of Tennessee. Reach for the Summit: The Definite Dozen System for Succeeding at Whatever You Do provides motivational advice, while Raise the Roof: The Inspiring Inside Story of the Tennessee Lady Vols' Undefeated 1997-98 Season recounted one memorable season for the team, when they were undefeated in thirty-nine games and won their third straight NCAA championship—their sixth, under Summitt's direction. The Vols' star was Chamique Holdsclaw, a dazzling player, but major contributions that year also came from four freshman, "whose transformation from girls to women gives this book its dramatic thrust," stated Ron Fimrite in a Sports Illustrated review. He concluded that Raise the Roof "represents a gratifying breakthrough in the literature of women's sports."
Jenkins coauthored two books with world champion cyclist Lance Armstrong: It's Not about the Bike: My Journey Back to Life and Every Second Counts. In addition to winning multiple victories in the grueling Tour de France, Lance Armstrong also defeated a virulent cancer that had even reached his lungs and brain. Armstrong not only survived the disease, but came back to race as strongly as ever. It's Not about the Bike recounts Armstrong's early life, growing up in a single-parent household in rural Texas, but mainly dwells on his illness, treatment, and recovery. It provides a "fabulous tribute to the strength of the human spirit," according to School Library Journal contributor Katherine Fitch. Booklist reviewer Brenda Barrera advised: "Readers will respond to the inspirational recovery story, and they will appreciate the behind-the-scenes cycling information." Armstrong's memoirs were expanded in Every Second Counts, a book that "goes a long way toward explaining what it takes to compete at Armstrong's level," noted Book commentator Don McLeese. He emphasized Jenkins's contribution to the project, saying her "expert framing of the story and eye for significant detail make this more compelling than most sports memoirs."
In No Finish Line: My Life as I See It, Jenkins coauthored another story of an athlete who overcame incredible odds to triumph. Marla Runyan was partially blinded by Stargardt's disease, and grew up feeling lonely, isolated, and angry because of her condition. Her anger fueled her competitiveness, however, and eventually Runyan went all the way to the Olympics as a track-and-field athlete. With Jenkins's help, Runyan's story "is well-paced and finishes strong; readers will hope she keeps going and going," claimed a reviewer for Publishers Weekly. Jenkins chronicled the rise of another underdog athlete in Funny Cide: How a Horse, a Trainer, a Jockey, and a Bunch of High School Buddies Took on the Sheiks andBluebloods … and Won. Funny Cide was an underrated horse owned by a group of small-town businessmen who surprised the world by nearly capturing the prestigious Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing. The story of his campaign for the Triple Crown "is irresistible," according to Booklist contributor Dennis Dodge. Jenkins "mines every vein for its most telling nuggets, then organizes them into a compelling narrative about unlikely heroes achieving extraordinary things." Library Journal reviewer Morey Berger also recommended Funny Cide as "a stirring and intimate tale."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Newsmakers 1997, issue 4, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1997.
Biography, fall, 2000, Laura Robinson, review of It's Not about the Bike: My Journey Back to Life, p. 788.
Book, November-December, 2003, Don McLeese, review of Every Second Counts, p. 74.
Booklist, May 15, 2000, review of It's Not about the Bike, p. 1698; September 1, 2003, David Pitt, review of Every Second Counts, p. 38; April 1, 2004, Dennis Dodge, review of Funny Cide: How a Horse, a Trainer, a Jockey, and a Bunch of High School Buddies Took on the Sheiks and Blue Bloods … and Won, p. 1330.
Chicago Tribune, December 3, 2003, Elizabeth A. Kennedy, review of Every Second Counts, p. 2; July 25, 2004, Alyson Hagy, review of Funny Cide, p. 1.
Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2004, review of Funny Cide, p. 256.
Library Journal, June 15, 2000, John Maxymuk, review of It's Not About the Bike, p. 89; October 15, 2003, Larry R. Little, review of Every Second Counts, p. 74; May 1, 2004, Morey Berger, review of Funny Cide, p. 118.
People, December 23, 1996, Cynthia Wang, interview with Jenkins, p. 67.
Publishers Weekly, September 9, 1996, review of Men Will Be Boys: The Modern Woman Explains Football and Other Amusing Male Rituals, p. 77; July 17, 2000, Daisy Maryles, "A Tour With a Twist," p. 85; May 15, 2000, review of It's Not about the Bike, p. 106; September 10, 2001, review of No Finish Line: My Life as I See It, p. 72; August 11, 2003, review of Every Second Counts, p. 265; March 22, 2004, review of Funny Cide, p. 69.
Quill, June, 2002, Vicky Katz Whitaker, "A Story That Makes a Bond," p. 30.
School Library Journal, January, 2001, Katherine Fitch, review of It's Not about the Bike, p. 161.
Sports Illustrated, March 18, 1991, p. 4; November 16, 1998, Ron Fimrite, review of Raise the Roof: The Inspiring Inside Story of the Tennessee Lady Vols' Undefeated 1997-98 Season, p. R15; November 1, 1999, Ron Fimrite, review of A Coach's Life, p. R9; July 10, 2000, review of It's Not about the Bike, p. R4; November 5, 2001, review of No Finish Line, p. R4.
Washington Post, September 11, 2000, Bill Gifford, review of It's Not about the Bike, p. C2.
Women's Sports and Fitness, November-December, 1991, p. 44.*