Lyme, NH (June 30, 2008) — Longtime Associated Press sports writer Mike Clark, whose editorial support and historical record keeping on the FIS Alpine World Cup made a significant impact on skiing worldwide, was honored with the presentation of a FIS Journalist Award June 28. The International Ski Federation presents the award to journalists worldwide for their service to the sport.
“Mike made a real difference for athletes,” said U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) Vice President of Communications Tom Kelly. “The AP is a critical media outlet, providing worldwide distribution of news. Mike’s passion for ski racing helped to bring exciting athlete stories to millions of fans around the globe. And, along the way, he became a one-man database in cataloging World Cup results – data that is extremely important today.”
Clark retired from the AP’s New York bureau in 2000 and is now a writer with Stars and Stripes. In a nearly 30-year career with the AP, he was a strong force on the news desk for ski racing and a regular fixture at Olympics, World Championships and U.S. World Cups as a writer.
“I am very humbled to receive this award and to be included on such a distinguished list of ski journalists,” said Clark. “Ski racing was central to my professional life for over 20 years while I was with the AP. It provided me with a thrilling sport and tremendous athletes to write about, as well as a group of fellow scribes I am proud to call friends.”
The award was presented by Kelly, head of the FIS Public Relations and Mass Media Committee. Four past recipients were also on hand including Ski Racing Magazine Managing Partner and CEO Gary Black (2008), film producer Joe Jay Jalbert (2002), former Ski Magazine and Snow Country editor John Fry (1998), and longtime ABC and ESPN commentator Bob Beattie (1997). The presentation took place following a celebration service for U.S. Ski Team correspondent Paul Robbins who died last February. Robbins and Clark had worked very closely together for many years.
“It was especially fitting to honor Mike on the day we also recognized Paul. The two of them worked hand-in-hand for many years. And Paul was instrumental in Mike’s award,” said Kelly. “Mike joins a list of past recipients of this award that’s really a who’s who of dedicated professionals who have passionately spread the word of our exciting action sports.”
FIS Marketing and Communications Director Christian Knauth, who oversees the awards for the sport’s governing body, worked for many years with Clark. “The FIS appreciates the great work that Mike Clark has accomplished on behalf of our sports over decades. We especially value the competition results information he has collected and maintained. Most of all, we respect that he has done this as a part of his private passion – that’s very unique.”
“For years Mike was a fixture on the alpine World Cup and at the World Championships. But, more importantly, his effort on the Associated Press sports desk allowed ski competition stories to move on the AP wire even if it was a big football or basketball weekend,” said Black. “And his statistical work was always a good check for Ski Racing’s own Hank McKee, who keeps our data. They were always trying to outdo each other with obscure points! He is a very deserving recipient of this FIS honor.”
“I began crunching numbers as soon as I started covering ski racing because I wanted to have as much information as possible to call upon when writing stories,” said Clark. “And I was happy to share anything I had with my colleagues. It was for them that I kept expanding my files over the years.”
Some of Clark’s fondest athlete memories are working with the legendary Ingemar Stenmark of Sweden. “It was almost a privilege to be on the same mountain with him when he was having one of those days,” said Clark. “He had a reputation, well deserved, for being withdrawn. But over the years we