written by: Vanessa Conabee photo by: Adam Finkle
As a writer and former Olympic skier, Carrie Sheinberg knows how to make headlines. Named to the U.S. Ski Team in 1990 at 17 and a member of the Olympic team in 1994, she was the top American slalom finisher in Lillehammer and winner of three U.S. national titles. After retiring, Sheinberg attended the University of Utah, followed by covering outdoor and Olympic sports for the Salt Lake Tribune. After a two-year stint as a producer at ESPN Radio, she worked as a reporter for SiriusXM Radio and as a freelance journalist published in ESPN the Magazine, SKI, Outside and The Boston Globe. She covered the Olympics in Salt Lake City, Athens and Torino as well as the 2005 Tour de France. Recently, Sheinberg profiled the filmmakers behind the 2017 Women’s Sports Film Festival.
1. How has media coverage of women in sports evolved in the last 10 years?
CS: Now there is actually an all-female hosted show on ESPN Radio, and ESPNW covers not only female sports, but also female reporters cover sports. And maybe that highlights the biggest shift of all: More women are doing the reporting. There are more women being given a voice. Instead of coverage “for women,” there is coverage of women by women and about women.
2. What sports would benefit most from giving more women a platform?
CS: Obviously Olympic sports are my background, and I think the Games—NBC really—have capitalized well on the female athlete. Women tennis players, thanks to a number of amazing characters beginning with Billie Jean King, have certainly been able to make themselves heard fairly well over the years. I would love to see more effort put into the Women’s National Soccer League.
3. What catalysts do you see as the biggest factors affecting change?
CS: There is no question that women’s sports are still seeing great benefits from the passage of Title IX in terms of female participation in sports. Women (and men) are still spending their efforts making sure girls get to play. It’s not really surprising that, 45 years after that legislation was passed, we are finally seeing the women who benefitted from playing making their way into positions of power and influence.
4. Is there a direct relationship between increased coverage and money flowing into specific sports?
CS: When David Stern started the WNBA, the league was able to focus more on advancing the product than worrying about the bottom line. The coolest thing about David Stern’s efforts was that he knew providing a professional platform for women to be seen playing basketball would help create an entirely new network for girls to play all around the country.
5. Is gender disparity in sports similar around the globe in terms of salary, royalties, prize monies and media representation?
CS: The U.S. Open Tennis Championships offered equal prize money for men and women before any other Grand Slam tennis events. Venus Vs. chronicles Venus Williams’ efforts in demanding equal rewards for women. Tournament organizers finally gave in 36 years after the U.S. Open had already evened the playing field!
See more inside our 2018 Jan/Feb Issue.