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Life Changer – Moss/McCartney Redux

Monday, February 24, 2014
Contributing Author: 
Armen Keteyian

 It’s not often you can say a single story changes your life, but the one you’re about to read did just that for me.

In February 1982 I was working at a hippish PR shop in Pacific Beach named The Phillips Organisation – yes, with an s, to stand out – handling publicity for the new Bud Light Triathlon Series.  Meaning I was dealing with the likes of Carl Thomas, Jim Curl and other organizers with an intense interest in the success of the series and future of the sport. I was also getting to know an emerging group of stars.

At the time of the ’82 Ironman I was standing squarely in the middle of a professional crossroads and wholly unsure which way to turn. Two years of daily newspapering in Escondido, CA had left me questioning that career path and by now I knew PR wasn’t my calling.

So it was with more than casual interest that I was drawn to the surreal finish of the ’82 race. The idea of chronicling what transpired that fateful February day on Kona between Julie Moss and Kathleen McCartney carrying added weight.

In my mind’s eye I can still see myself sitting in a nearly empty newsroom one Sunday afternoon at the Union writing in an emotional rush, the sports editor at the time, Barry Lorge, going over the piece in meticulous detail.  

Later that year I received a call out of the blue from an editor at The Sporting News. I didn’t quite understand what he was saying; something about my piece being in their annual “Best Sports Stories” anthology.  It was only after a check for $250 arrived – along with the book – I realized that “Julie Moss Found Ecstasy After Losing to Agony” had been honored as the “Best Feature” story of the year. (Click on the PDF link below to read the complete original article -- Ed.)

I eventually spent seven years writing for Sports Illustrated Magazine in New York and went on to work eight years as a correspondent for ABC News in New York. I spent  eight more at CBS and HBO Sports, then seven as the Chief Investigative Correspondent for CBS News. Since November 2012 I’ve been at 60 Minutes. In between all those years there have been 10 books and 11 Emmys and a life I could never have imagined sitting in that empty newsroom on that Sunday afternoon trying to tell Julie’s story.

Armen Keteyian is the lead correspondent for “60 Minutes Sports” on Showtime and a contributing correspondent for “60 Minutes.”