Sally Jenkins, originally from Fort Worth, Texas, is an influential and widely celebrated sportswriter who has been a columnist and feature writer for The Washington Post for over twenty years. She is the author of twelve books, four of which are New York Times bestsellers. Her books include The Real All Americans, a fascinating and inspirational revival of the lost history of the Carlisle Indian School football team, led by Jim Thorpe, who were the forerunners of today’s most exciting NFL trick-play offenses, and the No.1 bestseller Sum It Up, co-authored with legendary basketball coach, Pat Summitt, winner of eight national championships. Her latest work, The Right Call: What Sports Teach Us About Work and Life, was released in June 2023. Here, Jenkins reflects on the actionable principles of excellence she has observed in interviewing the best of the best, what qualities she consistently finds in our most beloved athletes, and how we can cultivate those same qualities in our own life.
Jenkins was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2019 for her well-known work on sport as a reflection of society at its best and its worst. She has never shied away from covering difficult subjects. She interviewed Joe Paterno on the Jerry Sandusky child-predator case shortly before his death and more recently wrote columns exposing the inaction and culpability of the United States Olympic Committee in the abuse of some of our finest gold medalists. At other times, her work is deeply affectionate, as is seen through her writing on greats such as Patrick Mahomes, Peyton Manning, and Michael Phelps, as well as on her own father, Hall of Fame sportswriter Dan Jenkins. Her pieces show a deep investment in the world of sport, and its profound impact on American culture.
Prior to her years at The Washington Post, Jenkins was a senior writer for Sports Illustrated. She has also been a correspondent on CNBC and NPR’s All Things Considered. Her work has appeared in GQ, Smithsonian Magazine, ESPN Magazine, Vanity Fair and Golf Digest, among other publications. Jenkins has won the Associated Press Sports Columnist of the Year Award six times, and in 2005, she became the first woman to be inducted into the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame. In 2021, she received the Red Smith Award for outstanding contributions to sports journalism.
Jenkins is a graduate of Stanford University and currently lives in New York. She is an incredibly knowledgeable and seasoned speaker with a deep insight into the people and the events that have come to shape our view of sport and its role in the world.