Longtime journalist Ed Hula will receive the prestigious Pierre de Coubertin Medal from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on June 23.
Fewer than 50 people have received the IOC’s highest honor since it was established in 1997, and Hula is the second person with Atlanta ties to receive the honor in as many years. In 2022, George Hirthler, a writer and historian, received the award for his work to lift up the history of de Coubertin.
Hula, who has been covering the Olympics for about 30 years, will receive at a special ceremony hosted by IOC President Thomas Bach at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne.
“It is a recognition of a lot of the hard yards I put in over the years covering the Olympic games and the work of the IOC, which is underreported,” Hula said in a telephone interview Wednesday from Lausanne. “I really couldn’t have gotten the award without the help of a lot of people.”
Hula moved to Atlanta from Florida in 1984 to become a writer and producer for CNN, where he met his wife, Sheila.
Hula then joined Peach State Public Radio, where he became news director for the then nine-station network, and he began following Atlanta’s bid for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. Hula’s voice became familiar to thousands of Atlanta listeners when he was named Olympics editor for WGST News Radio, “the information station” for the 1996 Games.
In 1992, shortly before the Barcelona Olympics, Hula started “the Hula Report” with Atlanta journalist Bill Shipp, later rebranding it – “Around the Rings,” which became known as the world’s leading news source for the Olympics.
“We were part of the Olympic team for years and years,” said Hula, who loved covering the Olympics for three decades. “It’s the intrigue, the international connections, the excitement of being around people from all over the world, being able to travel to all parts of the world to cover the story.”
Hula also said it was especially meaningful to receive a medal in honor of Pierre de Coubertin, who launched the modern Olympic movement in 1896.
“Pierre de Coubertin needs to be recognized more for what he did,” Hula said. In fact, Ed and Sheila Hula traveled to Greece, where they visited a museum in Athens with a bust showing the likeness of de Coubertin. They also traveled to Olympia, Greece, the birthplace of the Olympics.
In 2021, the Hulas sold “Around the Rings” to Argentina-based infobae.com.
“I don’t have seller’s remorse,” said Hula, because now he doesn’t have to worry about payroll and the other pressures of running a business.
After selling their Olympics publication, the Hulas sold their house in Atlanta and moved to Mount Dora, Fla., near Orlando. Earlier this year, the couple launched a consultancy, Hula Sport Communications.
The International Olympic Committee is a civil, non-governmental, international organization made up of volunteers committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 percent of its income to the wider sporting movement.