Managing director and 1984 Olympic silver medallist Wendy Sly on her long relationship with AW and why it has to keep changing with the times
I’ve known AW for the best part of the past 50 years. I read it, I’ve been in it, I’ve worked for a competitor against it and now I manage it. I’ve probably never been closer to the magazine than I am now, as we enter another chapter of its long history.
When my name first started appearing in AW, back when I was around 11 or 12, I felt that being in the magazine was some kind of endorsement, that I was part of the sport and a serious athlete. I knew from the outset that it was important.
I made the cover of AW and I was over the moon. What I love is that athletes who make it on to the cover still have that same feeling which I had – the pride of being on the front of the magazine that represents the sport in the UK and increasingly around the world. It means something.
It still has a massive role to play in the sport. I think that role has changed and, like everything, it has had to move and evolve with the times.
People still buy and read magazines but we live in an increasingly digital world and the number of other sources from which people access their information continues to grow. There are just so many more forms of communication.
We are known around the world as AW and it made sense to use that affectionate nickname and make it more official on the magazine’s cover. We are also trying to internationalise our brand more, taking what we do to a bigger market, and changing our name in this way – from Athletics Weekly to AW – is undoubtedly more modern as we look to the future of the magazine.
The goal for me is taking what we do so brilliantly out to a wider audience.
Changing the name gives us a bit more flexibility in the current climate and allows us to take our brand across every communication platform.
The magazine will celebrate its 75th birthday next year and throughout its life has evolved in a way that has been reflective of the times.
Part of the reasoning behind our change to becoming AW is to reflect the time we’re in.
I hope you can come with us on the journey.
» See the new-look edition of AW magazine, out now, to read more from Wendy Sly on AW’s next chapter