By Kelly Erickson
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Association for Women in Sports Media awarded the Mary Garber Pioneer Award, its highest honor, to Lisa Olson at the organization’s national convention in Scottsdale on Saturday, June 22, 2013.
Olson, accompanied by family and friends at AWSM’s Pioneer award luncheon, was introduced by Chuck Culpepper of Sports On Earth. Culpepper said introducing Olson was a “tough assignment,” given her status as a trailblazer among sports journalists.
“The person I’m introducing has given to me an up-close, long standing view of untold grace and humility,” Culpepper said. “So I really got the impossible assignment today, I have to introduce Lisa Olson.”
In her acceptance speech, Olson covered highlights — and lowlights — of her career, from being a high school sports editor to her first job and to her time as the first female sports columnist in Australia.
“Live like someone is watching but don’t compromise yourself,” Olson said. “Be kind to each other. Lift each other up. Treat your critics with kindness and remember all who came before you.
“I was so blessed to have this incredible army of women behind me — they’re still behind me.”
On the day Olson received AWSM’s Pioneer award, the Arizona Republic’s Paola Boivin profiled the Arizona native.
“Today’s event will be a powerful one for those of us whose jobs are easier because of Olson. It will be tricky for one of her closest friends, Sports on Earth columnist Chuck Culpepper, who will be introducing her. “I find it impossible to convey how much I admire and adore her, and now I have to give a 12-minute speech about it,” he said.”
Olson’s honor marked the 15th year in which ASWM presented the award.
More: AWSM’s official announcement of Olson being named the 2013 Mary Garber Pioneer Award recipient.