Ahead of Nanjing 2014, a Young Reporter graduate (Singapore 2010) talks about her experience and what happened next.
You don't quite get it at first. The immensity of the opportunity. This is a big-time international event, you think. This is a big-time chance to grow as a reporter, you know. It's not until you get there, until you get to it and through it, that you see the impact of the IOC Young Reporter programme on your career. Better yet – on you.
I was barely 20 and just two years into journalism school when I boarded the plane out of Vancouver, Canada to Singapore for the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010. I understood it would be the kind of opportunity you get once in a lifetime. I thought, this might be one of those things people call a life-changer. I was excited. I was anxious. I was ready to tackle the programme.
Perspective is everything, and this goes for everyone wanting to learn. Your mentors will give you plenty of perspective. Ask for more. Bring your questions and embrace the feedback. Forget fear, as it only bars greatness. What makes this programme so unique is that it is a classroom setting within a real-world event – first and foremost, this is a learning environment. Your peers, too, are your mentors. When time allows, go out. Get to know them. Listen to their stories. Build meaningful relationships. It is a vital part of the experience. Those friendships will last for years. Ours, from 2010, certainly have.
Four years later – two YOGs and two Olympic Games later – I reflect on my unreserved speed as an eager young reporter. I encourage the next generation to slow down. Just a tiny step. Just a tiny notch. In the rush to better yourself and your work, don't forget to enjoy the many moments. The kinds of stories at international sporting events are so ripe for the telling that they, in essence, tell themselves.. Let the story tell itself. Look for the nuances, look for the complexities. Search for the bigger picture. Be calm. Be courteous. But most of all, be curious.