Youth Olympic Games a springboard for athletes and Young Reporters alike

LAUSANNE, Jan 9 – One of the pleasures of watching the Youth Olympic Games over the past decade has been seeing young hopefuls develop into fully fledged Olympians.

But it is not just the athletes who have used the YOG as a springboard to success: the reporters from the IOC’s Young Reporters programme have been making the leap from aspiring journalists to the top of their trade.

“What’s been wonderful about the programme has been watching them grow up and do remarkable things,” said Australian ABC sports journalist Tracey Holmes, a mentor on the programme since its inception.

“The mission for the IOC was to have a media programme running in conjunction with the YOG. The idea of the Games is to give young people opportunities and so they decided to give recent graduates, or those who’ve just started in the industry, the chance to be exposed to the Olympics at ground level.

“At that first YOG [Singapore 2010], there were athletes who went on to became Olympians and, in the same way, the Young Reporters were getting good jobs and then reporting on them winning medals. Sometimes they remember each other, and that’s fabulous.”

Fifteen Young Reporters are in action at the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games. On 8 January, they had lunch with IOC President Thomas Bach, pictured above greeting the Young Reporters, and on the following day they headed into the field to interview and photograph athletes.

“We had 34 reporters for the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games, and we picked the best ones to come to Lausanne,” Holmes said. “By the time they come here, they’re more professional, and more is expected of them. The pressure is on, and we work intensely. They also specialise more at the Winter Games, whether it’s in broadcast, writing or photography.

“This is a good taste of being a reporter at a big event. They will have the struggle of making deadlines, of getting to venues, of getting that quote or not getting it, of quickly changing your story ideas if you don’t get what you planned. They’ll be coping with no days off and lack of sleep, but also making vital contacts.”

Among the recruits in Switzerland is Emma Holmsen, 24, from Stockholm. “It was a dream come true to get picked for Buenos Aires, and it changed my life,” she said. “I learned more about journalism in my three weeks in Argentina than I did in my whole journalism degree.

“I learned about myself, what I wanted to be, how to get out of my comfort zone, how to push myself in this environment. It’s a privilege to work with these mentors. You learn to correct your mistakes together.”

Sharome Burton Young Reporter Lausanne 2020
Sharome Burton, winner of the Steve Parry Award | Anthony Edgar for OISphotos.com

Sharome Burton, 24, from Dominica, also shone in Argentina, winning the Steve Parry Award for the programme’s outstanding performer. “It was the most hectic few weeks of my life in Buenos Aires, but I learned so much,” he said. “Being here is great. I’ve never been to Europe before and it will be a whole new set of challenges. The mentors have taught me all about interpersonal relationships, managing time, and about lots of new sports.”

OIS nm/pp/sg

By Olympic Information Service

Stay up to date with the latest news by following OIS on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter