|Frank Litsky has been a sports
writer and editor for The New York Times for 40 years and for United
Press (before it became United Press International) for the 11½
years before that. He has specialized in swimming, track and
field, professional football and college basketball. He has
personally attended and covered eight Olympic Games and has run the
desk at the Times and, before that, United Press, for 14 Olympics
beginning with the 1948 London Olympics and continuing through the
1996 Atlanta Games...and he is still going.|
Including swimming and diving he has also covered (alphabetically)
archery, auto racing, baseball, bobsledding, boxing, cricket,
cross-country, cycling, dog shows, field hockey, figure skating,
golf, gymnastics, hockey, horse racing, tennis, volleyball, weight
lifting and wrestling. He has covered sports in the United
States, Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, England, France, Italy, Germany,
Belgium, Yugoslavia and Korea.
Of all the sports he has covered, he says nothing has provided more enjoyment,
professionally and personally, than swimming. He was born and
raised in Waterbury, Conn., 20 miles from the Yale University Pool,
and every Spring he would go there to watch the NCAA or AAU Indoor
Championships. His fondest memory goes back to 1939, when he
watched Alan Ford of Yale swim the 100-yard freestyle in 49.7
seconds, the first time anyone had breached the 50-second barrier
and bettered Johnny Weissmuller's epic record of 51 seconds.
He has written eight sports books, including the coffee-table book Superstars,
a main selection of the Sports Illustrated Book Club and an
alternate selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club. For 36
years, he wrote on swimming and other sports for the encyclopedia
and/or encyclopedia yearbooks of the World Book, Collier's, Encyclopedia
Britannica, Funk and Wagnall, and Living History of the World.
At its convention in 1984, The American Swimming Coaches Association
presented him with a Certificate of Merit, the first journalist so
honored. In 1984, the Track and Field Writers of America gave
his its Jesse Abramson Award for outstanding coverage of the sport.
He has also won writing and meritorious-service awards from the Pro
Football Writers Association (five times), the Penn Relays and the
Max Kase Sports Lodge of B'nai B'rith.
His sports coverage has given an enthusiastic boost to the aquatic
disciplines and has served to keep the international community
abreast with the achievements of the time.