Winners Announced

Sports Writing Competition 2021

Journalism — The ball's in your court.

A rundown of that remarkable win from the underdogs? A feature piece on virtual coaching during the pandemic? An op-ed on why a break from sports has been (surprisingly) beneficial for many teens? This month, with the Summer Olympics rescheduled to begin in Tokyo, help us kick off our Sports Writing Competition—the field of sports writing is yours to play on. 

Guiding Ideas
Regardless of your topic, make sure to:
  1. Focus your attention on one issue or event.
  2. Conduct background research so that you have a good contextual understanding of your topic. This might mean looking into the historical record of the team you’re writing about, or a coach’s history, or the incidence of doping 20 years ago versus now… you get the idea.
  3. Seek out the opinions of others and gather interesting quotes! If you’re writing about a sports event at your school, interview players, coaches, and fans. If you’re writing about a national or international event or issue, draw on newspaper and magazine articles.
  4. And finally, make your writing come alive! Use active, interesting verbs; avoid the passive voice; and bring your reader into the article (and onto the field!) with specific, sensory details.
Like other forms of journalism, a sports article benefits from a carefully crafted structure. In just a few sentences, you must pull the reader in and make sure they hang on every line until the last! Read the definitions below, and be sure to check out the resource “Sports Journalism: It’s all in the structure!” for more info and examples.
  • HEADLINE: Five to ten words that grab the reader’s attention and give them a quick overview of what’s in the story. 
  • LEDE: The opening paragraph of an article, that serves to solidify the reader’s interest.  
  • NUT: The paragraph that provides context for your topic and the information needed to understand the issue at hand. Somewhere in the LEDE or NUT, make sure you’ve covered the five “W’s and the H”! (Who, What, Where, When, Why, How)
  • BODY: What happened! The outcome; the highlights; how an issue has developed over time, or how the community is responding; quotes from fans, athletes, coaches, or experts…
  • CLOSE: A few lines that wrap up the article, posing an additional question about the topic or offering a fresh way of looking at the issue.  

Who is Eligible?  
Young writers ages 13-18  
600 – 1,000 words

Guest Judge
John Vitti has spent more than 30 years in newspapers, including the last 20+ in the Boston Globe sports department, where he helps produce all aspects of the print and web content. He has also spent the last 14 years teaching/advising/volunteering in the Watertown (Mass.) Public Schools. In March 2020, he founded Headliners in Education, a 501c3 nonprofit that is all about the wonderfulness of journalism in schools and is affiliated with students and teachers in 350+ schools in 34 states and four countries.

  • Best Entry: $100 (Our guest judge’s commentary on the winning piece, and an interview with the author will be featured on Write the World’s blog) 
  • Runner up: $50 (Our guest judge’s commentary on the piece will be featured on Write the World’s blog)
  • Best Peer Review: $50 (Our guest judge’s commentary on the best peer review and an interview with the reviewer will be featured on Write the World’s blog)     

What’s Different about Write the World Competitions? 
  • Prizes: The winning entrant will receive $100, and the runner-up and best peer-reviewer will receive $50.       
  • Professional Recognition: The winning entry, plus the runner-up and best peer review, will be featured on our blog, with commentary from our guest judge.       
  • Expert Review: Submit your draft by Monday, July 12, and get feedback from our team of experts—authors, writing teachers, and educational professionals.  

Key Dates 
  • July 5: Competition Opens  
  • July 12: Submit draft for Expert Review (Optional. We will review the first 100 drafts submitted.)      
  • July 16: Reviews returned to Writers  
  • July 20: Final Submissions Due
  • July 30: Winners Announced  

WtW Camps and Workshops!
This July and August, take your writing skills to the next level by participating in Write the World's virtual writing camps taught by professional authors, editors, and educators—including former Guest Judges! Learn more and register here.

Upcoming Competition
Our Flash Fiction Competition opens Monday, August 2nd.
Stay tuned for more details!  

Is previously published work eligible?
Our monthly competitions are designed to get you writing across a range of genres throughout the year, so we encourage you to  write a new work for each  competition, but we will also accept work that has been previously shared with a small, local audience (for instance, a piece that was published in a school journal).

How to Enter 
  1. If you haven’t yet, sign up for a free account for Write the World as a young writer here
  2. Hit the “Start Writing” button above! 
  3. Draft your entry! Hit “Save” to return to it later. 
  4. The first 100 people to submit a draft will receive an in-depth review from one of our Expert Reviewers—authors, writing teachers, and educational professionals—that you can use to revise your final entry. The “Submit for Expert Review” button will be clickable if slots are still available—click it to have your draft reviewed. (Note: you can still enter the competition if you haven’t received or don’t want to receive an Expert Review!) 
  5. When you are ready to submit your entry, hit the "Submit as Final" button (You can revise, re-publish, and mark any version as your "final submission" until the deadline.)
  6. Only one entry per person, please. 
Writing Guidelines
The power of our writing goes hand in hand with responsibility. Make sure that you’re supporting other people through your writing rather than pulling them down. The types of content that will be removed from the site include, but are not limited to:   
  • Anything that may be deemed hurtful, defamatory or discriminatory in nature.
  • Anything deemed explicit or gratuitously violent.
  • Anything referencing self-harm. 
  • Any commercial posts and/or spam. 
  • Plagiarism (see more at our Writing Guidelines page). 
  • Personal contact information—including usernames on social media or other platforms. This is to protect the privacy of our members.
  • Links to any external websites, with the exception of links to citations as part of an essay, or including links to illustrations or audio as part of a Write the World competition or prompt.
If a writer posts content that violates our terms or goes against our guidelines, we will remove the post and contact the writer when necessary.  Please refer to our Writing Guidelines and site’s terms for further information.
All final submissions will automatically be published on Write the World’s website.


Due Dates
  • Jul 12 - Drafts Due for Expert Reviewer Feedback (optional)

  • Jul 20 - Competition Deadline


Meet Best Peer Review Winner Niah Nieuwenhuis

September 7, 2021

Writing a helpful peer review is not only an exercise in editing, it’s an exercise in empathy, as it requires us to deliver feedback that considers where the writer is coming from. As our Sports Writing Competition 2021 Best Peer Review Winner Niah Nieuwenhuis says, “Remaining respectful and mindful of the other person’s position, cultural differences, and political views is a great place to start.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! 

Read on for more of her insights into the peer review process and to learn about her writing accomplishments!

Read More!

Meet Grace Baeb, Winner of Our Sports Writing Competition!

August 23, 2021

Writing a compelling and moving piece of journalism (or any writing!) often requires one to turn both inward AND outward. Take Grace Baeb’s process of writing her winning entry for our Sports Writing Competition: when choosing a topic she drew on her own memories, because, as she says, “our own experiences are pretty powerful tools in writing,” but she also sought input from others while drafting, as “taking a step back from ourselves and getting as many opinions as possible is one of the most helpful things we can do to improve our work.” 

Learn more about Grace’s research and writing process and get her book recommendations! 

Read More!

Sports Writing Winners Announced!

July 30, 2021

From thoughtful investigations to in-depth exposés, your entries in our Sports Writing Competition took us beyond the playing field, arena, and score board and to the stories behind the action—stories that are sure to turn even the casual sports viewer into a diehard fan!

See Guest Judge John Vitti’s winning picks, as well as the finalists! 

See the Winners!

Q&A with Sports Writing Guest Judge John Vitti

July 13, 2021

As the Sports Layout and Copy Editor for the Boston Globe, John Vitti, guest judge for our Sports Writing Competition, understands what makes for captivating sports writing. And—spoiler alert!—it’s not a mere recap of an athletic event; it’s the rich stories behind the event. As John recommends, “Don’t look at the scoreboard. There might be a fascinating moment in a game, or there might be an athlete or coach with a story to tell. If it’s interesting to you, it will be interesting to the reader.” 

Learn all about John’s career in sports and get more tips to elevate your entry!

Read More!