Title

Publication

The Australian and The Daily Telegraph

Year

2020

Category

All Media: Sports Journalism

A sports story that breaks the heart. Broadly researched and uncovering a dark world unknown outside figure skating, this powerful series follows the tragic suicide of a young athlete to the root cause. Jessica Halloran and Julian Linden’s revelations resulted in major reform proposals to better safeguard child athletes from being “traded” between countries, subjected to abuse and inadequate concussion management and reduced to a life of poverty when their funding levels are slashed.

Australia’s peak sporting bodies, including the Australian Olympic Committee, announced they would develop an independent framework on member protection issues, effectively taking the reporting and investigations of abuse away from individual sports. The skating’s world governing body said it would consider raising the minimum age of Olympic figure skaters from 15 to 17.

Jessica Halloran is the chief sports writer at The Australian. She started her journalism career as a cadet at The Sydney Morning Herald, became a sports columnist at the Sunday Telegraph and joined The Australian earlier this year. For more than 18 years she has reported from some of the largest sporting events, including the Olympics. She wrote tennis player Jelena Dokic’s best-selling biography, Unbreakable.

Julian Linden began his journalism career in 1990 at the Imlay Magnet on the New South Wales far south coast. He  worked for four years with United Press International in London, then spent two decades covering international sport for various news agencies, taking postings in New York and Singapore. He joined The Daily Telegraph in 2018, reporting on rugby, cricket and Olympic sports.

Judges’ comments:

Displaying dogged tenacity, Jessica Halloran and Julian Linden pursued a compelling investigation into uncomfortable aspects of figure skating. Sparked by the tragic death of a young star, the expose forced officials to reconsider long-standing selection policies and concussion treatment. This is great journalism.