Thursday, February 17, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Sports columnist Tim Dahlberg won three writing awards in the annual contest for AP staffers judged by the Associated Press Sports Editors at their winter meeting.

Dahlberg won the Grimsley Award for outstanding body of work, as well as deadline writing and best feature.

His compelling tale of the "Fight of the Century" between Jack Johnson and Jim Jeffries - a moment so big it intrigues historians still - explored what that 1910 event meant to America and its effect on race relations. His winning deadline entry detailed golfer Phil Mickelson's emotional victory at the Masters.

Other contest winners announced Thursday included baseball writer Ron Blum, story of the year, for the death of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner; and golf writer Doug Ferguson, enterprise, for a look at Tiger Woods' life one year later.

Photo awards went to Mark J. Terrill, best portfolio and best action photo; and David J. Phillip, best feature photo.

Dahlberg's portfolio included columns on Tiger Woods' apology, a tribute to John Wooden and Mickelson's Masters win.

"Tim Dahlberg doesn't pull any punches," said Garry D. Howard, editor-in-chief of Sporting News, who helped judge the AP entries. "His pieces on Tiger Woods' sham of a press conference to explain his extracurricular gymnastics; Phil Mickelson's outstanding play and victory at the Masters; and his delightful walk through the iconic life of John Wooden clearly elevated his work to the top of this category."

Tom Brew, deputy sports editor at The Indianapolis Star, and Pamela Laucella, academic director of the National Sports Journalism Program at Indiana University, also judged AP's entries.

Blum told the life story of baseball's bombastic Boss who rebuilt the New York Yankees dynasty and ushered in the era of multimillion-dollar salaries.

"Ron Blum captured the essence of George Steinbrenner from the beginning of his reign up to his death," Howard said. "Blum did not miss anything in between; it was a delightful read."

Terrill, a photographer based in Los Angeles, won the AP's Thomas V. diLustro award for best portfolio for a package that included photos of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees celebrating the team's Super Bowl victory with his son Baylen and wife, Brittany; a torchbearer saluting the crowd during the opening ceremony for the Vancouver Olympics; Los Angeles Lakers guard Shannon Brown attempting a dunk in the Western Conference finals; and Rafael Nadal returning a shot to Ivan Ljubicic during a match at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament.

His winning action photo featured Chloe Dufour-Lapointe of Canada during her final run in the women's moguls at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Houston-based Phillip won best feature for a photo of South Korean figure skater Kim Yu-na reacting after her free skate at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

"A gorgeous visual moment, beautifully framed and unique," said Scott Goldman, director of digital and visuals for The Indianapolis Star.

Also judging the photo entries were Indianapolis Star assistant sports editor Steve Ballard and staff writer Phil Richards.

Winners will be honored at the organization's annual convention in June in Boston.

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