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Al Schoenfield Media Award



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.

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