Passions in America Podcast: Olympic Gold Medalist and SwimSwam Co-founder Mel Stewart

The Passions in America Podcast is co-founded and hosted by one of America’s greatest sportswriters and authors Joe Posnanski.

Hear the PODCAST HERE, Episode 8.30.2018

Many of you know my story, but if you’re a close friend then you know I absolutely love Joe.  I cannot believe our lives crossed paths over 30 years ago when I was an arrogant, insecure adolescent with an Olympic dream.

I’m lucky, so lucky. Thousands of interactions and influencers funnel Olympians to the awards podium. Without the right coaches, parents and mentors, it simply does not happen. Anything can go wrong.  For me, everything went right–and more.  Few Olympians can say they developed in tandem with a superstar sportswriter and author, but I did.  I literally grew up with an insanely talented wordsmith, a man who has transcended sports reporting becoming an award winning storyteller.

Posnanski 411

  • Sports Illustrated Sr Writer
  • NBC Sports National Columnist
  • Author of four books, including the New York Times No. 1 Paterno and New York Times bestsellers The Secret of GolfThe Machine and The Soul of Baseball (**Soul won the Casey Award for best baseball book)
  • MLB Network contributor
  • PBS contributor
  • Journalist at the Kansas City Star, The Cincinnati Post, The Augusta Chronicle and The Charlotte Observer

Posnanski Awards

  • 2 Emmys
  • 2 Eddys
  • 3 National Headliner Awards
  • 2 National Columnist of the Year Awards
  • National Sportswriter of the Year
  • Best sportswriter at the Blogs 4 Balls Conference
  • And The Baseball Bloggers Alliance named its annual writer of the year award after Joe


Joe Posnanski was a freshman at UNC Charlotte when I was a junior in high school swimming for MAC (aka SwimMAC).  Joe wrote for the local paper, The Charlotte Observer, and covered swimming. It was never said, or told to me, but it was clear swimming was not a top priority in Charlotte, North Carolina. Football, basketball and NASCAR made front page news. Swimming did not. Therefore, swimming news coverage went to a kid, a green, wannabe sports journalist.  I’ll never forget seeing Joe’s baby-face for the first time with that permanent smile. Joe was pure joy. His passion was infectious.

I was not a great interview. I was a redneck with a thick Southern drawl, deeply rebellious, armed with a fake, well-practiced arrogance. Somehow Joe disarmed me. Somehow Joe managed to see through my BS and report my swimming journey preserving a small measure of my dignity. Looking back, I didn’t deserve it. I was lucky. Joe was a gift from the universe.

Joe’s talent has many dimensions. As a writer he has achieved mastery. That alone is impressive, but what makes him great at his craft–his superpower–is his empathy. Joe gets under the skin of his subject revealing their frailty and humanity.

Joe’s next book about the impact Harry Houdini has on the world today drops October 1st, 2019, and he’s hosting Passions in America.  In sum, Joe’s diving deeper into what drives us all.  At some point in the future, SwimSwam Magazine’s getting Joe to produce a swimming feature. Until then, learn more about Joe below:

Joe Posnanski HQ

Joe Posnanski Twitter 

Joe Posnanski Books

Joe Posnanski Facebook

Passions in America

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He said What?

Thank you, Mel!

Gold Medal Mel

You’re welcome………


Pos + Mel = an athlete/writer combination that is pure gold. (Yeah, pardon the pun.)


Great article about two CHAMPIONS!

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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