Aug. 25, 2023
Best of the Week — First Winner
AP recounts final mental health struggles of Olympics champ Tori Bowie
On the eve of the first world track championships since Bowie’s passing, AP sportswriters Eddie Pells and Pat Graham teamed up to report exclusively on the mental health struggles of Tori Bowie that led up to the star athlete’s death April 23 from complications during childbirth at the age of 32.
The two had covered Bowie, who won three medals at the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Games, for many years and had heard whispers of her difficulties. A few weeks after her death, the autopsy listed the cause as “complications in childbirth.”
While other outlets pursued the angle that Black women suffer disproportionately from pregnancy complications, Pells opted to explore another dimension of her story, her struggles with mental health.
He sought out people at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and within track and field, to find out how a world-famous champion, who was eight months into what would be considered an at-risk pregnancy, came to die alone at home without medical care or anyone to look after her.
For sensitively telling the story of a great athlete who became isolated from her peers and died tragically alone in part because of neglect of her mental health difficulties, Pells and Graham are Best of the Week — First Winner.