Concerning the use of Canon or Nikon by sports journalists I have seen (over the last ten years) that though Canon was a bit late with its pro-digi-SLR, it had a wide range of IS-lenses, when Nikon had none (VR). http://www.nicovandijk.net/nikond1.htm
I get the impression that the EOS system in general had superior autofocus to the Nikon F4-era Nikon autofocus system, or at least it focused long telephoto lenses faster. Albeit that the EOS launch range appeared to have only one long fast telephoto lens, a 300mm f/2.8. But I'm curious as to what professional photographers with an investment in the EOS system, sports shooters in particular, used in the gap between the launch of the Nikon D1, in mid-1999, and the launch of the Canon 1D, in November 2001. The D30 seems to have been popular with photojournalists, but I know from personal experience that the autofocus system was slow and basic and it would have been a challenge at an athletic meeting.
You know, I just Googled for QUOTE nikon d1 "until the 1d" UNQUOTE and by incredible coincidence the top result was this forum thread by Stan Disbrow, from February 2004(!):http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read. ... ge=7525448
The impression I get - I keep using that phrase, but it's true - is that a lot of photographers switched from Canon EOS 1n film bodies to Nikon D1 digital bodies, and then to the Canon 1D once it became available. The photographers who remained with the Nikon D1, and perhaps the D1h, then became increasingly frustrated at the long wait for the D2, and gradually trickled to the Canon camp; and when the reviews of the D2 were good-but-not-great, they had a pang of confusion before switching to the 1D MkII. And that newspapers did broadly the same. And a core of photographers stuck with the D1 / D1h because it worked just as well as it had and no doubt continued to sell pictures and earn money.
On a tangent, this chap has some shots he took with a D1, including one that ended up as a two-page spread in ESPN Magazine, which is clearly impossible for a 2.7mp camera
I mean, perhaps photographers continued to use Canon film bodies but... eww. Film