David Epstein
David Epstein>ARCHIVE

Senior Writer David Epstein writes about sports science and medicine, Olympic sports, and is an investigative reporter for SI. His science writing has won a number of awards, including the Society of Professional Journalists 2010 Deadline Club Award for an article on the genetics of sports performance; Time Inc.'s Henry R. Luce Award for public service for an article on the dangers of the dietary supplement industry; and the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association's "Big Hearted Journalism" award for his story "Following the Trail of Broken Hearts," on sudden cardiac death in athletes. Epstein was a 2011 Livingston Award finalist for a package that included articles on pain in sports and the anticipatory skills that allow Major Leaguers to hit 100 mph fastballs.

Since 2008, Epstein has co-authored several of SI and SI.com's most high profile investigative pieces, including the revelation that Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids in 2003, and an investigation that revealed a pattern of NCAA violations under former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel. In 09, Epstein did a three a three-month internship with ProPublica, where he wrote about the dangers of nuclear cleanup work funded by the federal stimulus package.

Epstein graduated from Columbia University in 2002 with a B.S. in environmental science and astronomy, and holds master's degrees in journalism and environmental science from the school. Prior to joining SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Epstein worked as a reporter on the city desk of the New York Daily News and at the online publication, Inside Higher Ed. He also worked as an ecology researcher in the Arctic and served on a seismic research vessel in the Pacific Ocean. His work has appeared in Discover, Scientific American, US News and World Report and The Guardian, among other publications.

An avid runner, Epstein was a member of Columbia's varsity track squad (he ran the 800) and twice earned All-East honors. Asked his favorite sport to cover, Epstein says he is partial to the Olympic track and field competition. "It's the only sport with potential world champions from every inhabited continent and I enjoy interacting with athletes from different cultures, many of whom are competing on a stage vastly different from anything they've ever experienced," he says.

Epstein cites Dr. Bernd Heinrich and playwright Martin McDonagh as writing inspirations.


  • Favorite SI Vault stories: Marfan Syndrome: A Silent Killer (Feb. 17, 1986) and Soul Survivor (Dec, 2, 2002). "Both of these pieces, one about the death of volleyball player Flo Hyman and the other about the on-field death of football player Devaughn Darling, gave eloquent treatment to medical conditions that were nearly invisible to the public and often misunderstood or mishandled even by medical professionals. SI has a long history of narrative, public-service journalism that includes these two pieces, and, I hope, some of my own."
  • Favorite book: Why We Run: A Natural History by Dr. Bernd Heinrich. "He examined the evolutionary roots of human endurance, and applied his research to his own training. The result? He won the North American ultramarathon championships. If you're into sports science, that's a tough ending to beat."
  • Favorite nonsports websites: ProPublica.org, PubMed, and gothamschools.org.
  • Hidden talent: "I can spin a wide variety of objects on my finger, and if Blue Man Group had a farm system, I'd be in Class-AA for marshmallow catching. But I try to keep these tremendous talents hidden in the office."

Updated 10 July 2012

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