While growing up in Vancouver, Wendy Long and her neighbourhood friends were captivated by the Miracle Mile. Even though the race had taken place a decade earlier, as kids they would hold their own Miracle Miles running around the block and timing themselves with a watch.

John Landy’s famous look back resonated with Long and her personal motto in later years when making important decisions became ‘Don’t Look Back.’ In a three-decade career pushing back the boundaries for women in sports journalism, she thankfully never did and as the BC Sports Hall of Fame’s first female media inductee, its a race she most definitely won.

After a childhood idolizing sports heroes Nancy Greene, Debbie Brill, and Karen Magnussen and playing a wide variety of sports, Long took the two-year journalism program at Langara. In her second year in 1980, she began working part-time at the Vancouver Sun, covering Richmond city council and Vancouver Park Board meetings. After graduating, the Sun put her on a special task force investigating the Clifford Olson serial murders and her team won a National Newspaper Award for their coverage.

An experienced marathoner, Long wrote stories on her marathon training and served as the first Vancouver Sun Run ‘guinea pig’, helping to promote the inaugural edition of the race that is now a Vancouver spring staple. After stints in the Suns ‘You’ and news sections, in 1985 she became the papers first-ever full-time female sportswriter—one of only four in Canada during the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Beginning with an article on badminton great Claire Backhouse-Sharpe, Long covered a little of everything at first, even filling in as the back-up BC Lions football writer. Soon she settled into her niche covering the amateur sports beat, while providing women’s sports and issues with a key voice. Some male colleagues seemed threatened by her, but others were supportive and served as mentors including legends Archie McDonald, Jim Kearney, and Jim Taylor. Sun investigative journalist Moira Farrow was another important influence.

Long went on to cover seven Olympic Games, as well as many other international events including the 1987 Federation Cup, 1989 world alpine skiing championships, 1991 world track and field championships, 1994 Commonwealth Games, and 1999 Pan American Games. She interviewed Billie Jean King, covered Mike Powell’s amazing long jump world record in 1991 in Tokyo, and was there for the career-defining moments of Alison Sydor, Silken Laumann, and Daniel Igali among others.

Long also authored the book Celebrating Excellence: Canadian Women Athletes, published in 1995 and still one of the best references for Canadian female athletes. More recently, she worked with Haley Wickenheiser on the book Gold Medal Diary that covered the Canadian women’s hockey gold medal win at the 2010 Olympics.

Written and researched by Jason Beck, Curator of the BC Sports Hall of Fame.