Asunder Down Under
10/02/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT
Hannah Storm knew sportscasting was a man's world, but she was still a bit stunned when she showed up for her 1989 interview in Atlanta with CNN Sports. Although she had spent six years covering sports for radio and TV stations in Houston and Charlotte, N.C., "I literally had to sit down at a desk and fill out a quiz," she recalls indignantly. (Sample question: "What is the difference between the American and the National League?") Mean-while, Dan Hicks, a sportscaster with a similar résumé, was hired around the same time. No quiz necessary.
These days, Storm no longer has to prove herself to anyone. The energetic 38-year-old, who spent three years at CNN, now anchors many top NBC sports events and hosts the network's popular pregame NBA Showtime. Fortunately, she bears no grudge against Hicks, 38, now her husband of six years and NBC's golf program host. In fact, the two are currently broadcasting together from the Olympics in Sydney. "This is their third Summer Games," says fellow NBC host Bob Costas, "and there are no two people better qualified."
Not that they get to live it up Down Under. Storm is anchoring a variety of daytime and weekend shows, while Hicks is lead commentator for swimming and diving. "Dan works from about 7 in the morning until 10 at night," says Storm. "I work 8 at night until 9 in the morning, because my show is live back to the States. So we don't see each other." Indeed, "the Olympics is the most work-intensive thing we do by far," says Hicks. "It's like a soap opera happening each night."
Coworkers are certain they're up to the challenge. "Hannah is a sharp, smart woman who knows her stuff," says friend Chris Evert, who has covered tennis with Storm. And Hicks "doesn't have any ego about what he does," says diving analyst Cynthia Potter. "It's very nice to be alongside him." Plus, she notes, he does riotous impressions of Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings and Costas. "I've heard Dan does a good me," Costas deadpans. "But I've told him he isn't a man until he does it in front of me."
The couple seem to have been born performers. Growing up, Storm, the oldest of three children of Mike Storen, 64, once commissioner of the American Basketball Association, and his wife, Hannah, 63, a real estate agent, even dreamed of becoming an actress. But after graduating from Notre Dame in 1983 with degrees in political science and communications, she took a job as a deejay at a heavy-metal station in Texas, changed her last name to Storm and then put her lifelong love of sports to use as a TV and radio reporter.
Hicks grew up in Tucson, the youngest of three children of Jim, 66, a now-retired manager at Hughes Aircraft, and Diane, 66, a teacher. He knew early on what he wanted to be. "I remember going to Triple A baseball games with a tape recorder and calling a game by myself in the stands," he says. Graduating from the University of Arizona with an '84 journalism degree, he covered sports for Tucson radio and TV stations.
In 1989 he landed at CNN, where Storm had just been hired. "We had our desks next to each other," says Storm. "I helped him get assimilated to Atlanta, and he really helped me because I had a lot of pressure as the first woman sports anchor at CNN." In 1991 the couple began dating; three years later both were hired—independently—by NBC. "They didn't even know we were an item," says Hicks.
Married in 1994, the couple now live in a four-bedroom gated home in suburban Connecticut and are expecting their third child in February. Already, Hannah Beth, 3, and Ellery, 2, are taking after their parents. "They know who Tiger Woods is, and El Duque," says Storm, "and they know the Yankees won the World Series." But Mom and Dad also treasure their downtime. One typical day this summer, Hicks recalls, we "stayed home, caught a fish, made dinner." That, he reflects with a smile, "was a perfect day."
Cynthia Wang in New York City