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“For generations, women avoided sports because they saw them as ‘male preserves’… Well, not any more. Sport has changed enormously, and we’ve reached a point when we should grab that change and run with it.”
In 2013 The Mail on Sunday appointed the first female sports editor of a national newspaper – Alison Kervin. A former chief sports feature writer for The Times, Alison was the chief sports interviewer for the Daily Telegraph and edited the London 2012 Olympic programme.
Kervin has enjoyed a wonderfully varied career. A sports science graduate, she was in the England Gymnastics Squad before qualifying as a coach for no fewer than 10 sports. In 1991, she became the first woman to referee a rugby match at Twickenham.
Aside from writing for the major newspapers, Kervin also writes for women’s publication Glamour and online site The Pool reaching an unengaged female audience.
Quote from nomination process: “I think she is amazing to have done what she’s done, but I am nominating her because of the work she does away from the spotlight – helping and advising female rugby players, athletes, and others. I like the fact that she has been a coach and a referee, and is a single mother who works really hard.”
Nick Hope leads BBC Sport’s multi-platform coverage of Olympic and Paralympic sportswomen and is committed to giving a voice to those traditionally overlooked by mainstream media.
In addition to broadcasting on BBC Breakfast, ‘Saturday Sportsday’ and CBBC Newsround television outlets, Nick also contributes to Radio 5 Live and writes for the BBC Sport website.
Examples range from going behind-the-scenes with the GB women’s hockey team during the World League finals in Argentina, to documenting Margaret Rumat’s bid to become South Sudan’s first female Olympian and the telling of Alia Atkinson’s attempt to become the first black woman to win individual Olympic swimming gold. His self-produced and self-edited ‘Road to Rio’ BBC News review show featured the phenomenal achievements of Jessica Ennis-Hill, Charlotte Dujardin, Tully Kearney and Lizzie Armitstead.
Nick has played a significant role in BBC Get Inspired’s campaign to boost participation of women in sport. He created their biggest online success to date – ‘the snowboarding grandmother’; even filming and editing a feature on veteran swimmer Jane Asher whilst off-duty and competing himself.
Nick has a proven track record of developing strong relationships with sportswomen as seen by his exclusive stories including Cyclist Shanaze Reade detailing a post-Olympic struggle with depression and Paralympic skiing medallist Jade Etherington revealing that she was to quit the sport due to a lack of support from her governing body.
In her role as features editor for Sport, the UK’s biggest sport magazine, Sarah Shephard has an almost unrivalled opportunity to ensure that women’s sport is correctly and creatively represented in mainstream print. In the past 12 months Sarah has worked both tirelessly and cleverly to this end.
The shift towards improved coverage of women’s sport was reflected in a tripling in the number of female sportspeople to grace the Sport cover in 2015.
Her excellent contacts book secured an interview with Jessica Ennis-Hill on her return to competition after the birth of her son, and an interview with England forward Eni Aluko ahead of the Women’s Football World Cup. To run with a female footballer on the cover of an issue that coincided with the men’s Champions League final was a bold statement of intent by both Sarah and the magazine; it proved both prescient and justified in the event of England’s historically strong showing.
The pedigree she has built up in her time at Sport saw her invited to chair a session designed to help encourage more girls into sports writing at the London Sports Writing Festival.
Sarah has just had a book published, Kicking Off, which charts the history and growing influence of women in sport.