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B Sporty

Taking the World by Storm

Hannah Storm was a fresh-faced Notre Dame grad proficient in the world of athletics, just itching to fulfill her life-long goal of becoming a sportscaster. For a self-professed “ham” with a passion for the spotlight and the adrenaline rush that comes with delivering on the field, the career choice seemed like a no-brainer. “I just knew that I liked sports and I thought that if I was going into television, I would rather cover a ball game than a city council meeting.”

As many successful people will attest, the means to an end are not always direct. Female sportscasters weren’t exactly “en vogue” in the early ‘80s, and after being dubbed a “risk” to ratings by one potential employer, the young Storen answered a want ad for a latenight disc jockey at a heavy metal station in Corpus Christi, changed her name to Hannah Storm, and thus began her whirlwind career in broadcast media.

While the gig wasn’t the most glamorous - the facility was located in a pasture, complete with renegade cows that needed to be wrangled away from the entrance gate before she could get to work - Storm had a great time hanging out with the bigwigs of the headbanger era. Rocking out to the likes of Sammy Hagar and Mötley Crüe, Storm is proud to say that she spun actual vinyl, which translates to major street credit in the radio deejay world. Six months later, she landed a job in Houston as the drive time sports anchor for KSRR-FM, inching another step closer to her ultimate goal of television sportscasting. While there, the vivacious twenty-something developed strong emotional ties to the Bayou City. “Houstonians, know how to have a great time, so I would go out and have an absolute blast… unfortunately I had work in the morning. Luckily, you don’t have to look good for radio, but I loved it there and every time the plane touches down in Houston I kind of feel like I’m home.”

By 1989, Storm crossed over from radio to television and with an infectious grin and a no-nonsense reporting style, she began broadcasting nationally after taking on the first female hosting role of CNN Sports Tonight. While performing her duties for the show, Storm also hosted MLB Preview and the Daytona 500. She expanded her sports-coverage repertoire at NBC Sports, reporting on everything from the NBA, WNBA, MLB, NFL, figure skating, Wimbledon, the French Open, and college football. It was while covering the Olympic games that Storm became most inspired by her subjects.

“It’s almost like stepping into another world. Sometimes literally, you’re in New York, or Atlanta, or Barcelona, you become so entrenched in a way of life in another city-how people eat, what they do, how they talk, and how they live. You’re not only immersed in another culture for at least a month, but you’re also immersed in this international competition that is really unlike anything else that you do on a day to day basis.” Along with the Barcelona and Atlanta games, Storm hosted the daytime and weekend programs from Sydney and Salt Lake City, gushing that, “The Olympics is where you get sort of the whole breadth of humanity and all of its accomplishments. That’s what I really like about it.”

The mother of three has an impressive breadth of accomplishments to speak of as well. Her book, Go Girl, which serves as a youth sports handbook to parents, touting the importance of athletics for developing strong characters, is in its second printing. The Hannah Storm Foundation, in its first year, is helping to raise awareness and provide treatments for children with life-altering vascular birthmarks - something that its namesake dealt with as a small child. Brainstorm Productions, Storm’s company, has just wrapped its first film documenting the friendship and rivalry of tennis champs Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova for an ESPN film series. After five years of hosting The Early Show at CBS, covering many celebrity icons and every major event during that time, Storm now holds down the fort for the weekday morning broadcasts of SportsCenter, one of her many duties as a member of the ESPN team. Not bad for the young lady once deemed too risky to cover ball games in the male-dominated realm of sports just two decades ago.

Spin-Zone

STORY: Stephanie Marichal

Most monumental birthdays are marked with an extravagant repertoire of festivities, ranging from dinner parties to luxurious vacation getaways. For his 60th birthday, Texas entrepreneur Steve Hicks had other plans in mind. Alongside 49 other committed patrons, Austin-based Hicks will bike the grueling and rugged terrain of the Texas-Louisiana border for the Rise Across Texas Challenge (RATC).

This inspiring 850-mile feat, covering 13 picturesque counties from Orange to Presidio, will take two weeks for bikers to conquer. The rigorous ride includes the deep-shadowed Piney Woods forests, rolling Brazos River bottomlands and quad-burning Hill Country slopes – putting a new perspective on your gym’s spin class. In order to reach his finish line, Hicks has enlisted the professional help of Kevin Livingston, six-time Tour de France Rider and U.S. National Champion, to help him train for the journey in March.

Upon entry, each cyclist must commit to raise a hefty $100,000, working toward the overall goal of $5 million. Proceeds benefit the Rise Schools of Texas, a nonprofit organization providing early childhood education services to children. Rise School of Austin hopes to finally build a permanent home with RATC’s charitable contributions.

So what will Hicks wish for when he blows out his candles? “For my 50th, I showed a lot of people a good time,” boasts Hicks. “But for my 60th, I want to give something back to the world.”

STORY: Annie Kreighbaum