As a teenager busy participating in sports, I don’t normally take the time to read the sports section (or any section) of the newspaper. I love soccer, Nordic ski racing and track and enjoy backpacking, and alpine skiing. I love to watch ski jumping and all the winter Olympic sports.
So I decided to look at the sports section in The Salt Lake Tribune recently, excited to maybe see a recap of a recent sports event I would enjoy — such as the Utah Royals game or the recent national Nordic Combined competition in Park City — or maybe a spotlight on an incredible winter athlete. Instead I found The Tribune’s 2018 ranking of the most influential people in sports in Utah.
All I can say is that there sure are a lot of Tribune sports section writers who watch the Jazz. The top four spots all went to people somehow affiliated with the local basketball team. This team hasn’t won a conference title since 1998.
As I scanned the ranking, my shock and sadness set in. I realized that The Tribune had failed to mention all but three women on their list and only one person associated with winter athletics. Seriously?
The Utah Royals average 8,555 fans, and even with three players from the Royals on the world championship winning U.S. national team, there was no mention of the Royals in the rankings. But somehow the Brigham Young University men’s volleyball coach showed up on the list.
Not listing many women and not reporting on many women’s sports only perpetuates the downward spiral of scarce viewing and scarce recognition for amazing female athletes. But the real disappointment is that Salt Lake City claims to want to host the 2026 or the 2030 Winter Olympics. Yet only one winter athlete made it on to the local newspaper’s ranking of influential people in sports.
Park City is a mecca of winter athletics, with a huge number of athletes coming to train for the Olympics using Utah’s “Greatest Snow on Earth.” Even better, those athletes win world championships and Olympic medals.
How about listing Sarah Hendrickson, Park City native and 2014 world champion ski jumper? With bib number 1, she was the first female ever to take a jump in the Olympics. Perhaps list Ted Ligety, yet another Park City native and two-time Olympic gold-medalist in downhill ski racing? Not even a mention of Maame Biney, the 18-year-old phenom who has taken the short track speed skating world by storm? What about including any of the rest of her teammates, whose main training ground is right here in Salt Lake at the Olympic Oval?
It could be described as ludicrous to skip right over them to the Salt Lake Bees’ president. It should be mentioned that the Bees haven’t won a division title since 2013.
In short, the creators of this ranking system need to look at the bigger picture of success and influence, not just at the local basketball and football teams. No wonder I never read the sports section. The sports I love and the athletes I look up to are not on this list.
Mia Vinding, Park City, is a junior at Rowland Hall High School.