For many of them this is the beginning of a successful career in sports journalism. A former ‘apprentice’, Sonali Prasad caught up with some of her fellow graduate reporters, Julia Vynokurova (RUS) and Emily Ridlington (CAN) at Sochi 2014.
Q- What will you both be doing here at Sochi?
Emily: I'm here as a working journalist with the Olympic News Service and I will be covering sliding. It's fun to talk to athletes in the mixed zone!
Julia: I'm a photo manager with the host news agency of the Olympics, RIA Novosti. So I'm managing a pool of photographers for the Olympic Games. My team was responsible for the Torch Relay for the agency.
Q- Speaking of torch relays, Julia, you ran with the torch as a YOG graduate! How was it?
Julia: It was a truly special experience and a huge honour to carry the Olympic torch on behalf of the YOG – all those athletes, Young Ambassadors and Young Reporters for whom the Youth Olympic Games have become an inspiration, an important step in a career or, like for me, a turning point in life. It was also a very unique feeling to be part of one of the most sacred Olympic traditions. Coming from Sevastopol, a city just across the Black Sea from Sochi, I truly consider these my Games. Lots of photos were taken, many laughs and smiles - very emotional!
Q- How does it feel for the both of you to cover your first Olympic Winter Games?
Emily: I feel very fortunate that I get to be a part of the Olympic family again after the London Games. It is a huge honour. It feels great to meet such great people and see some familiar faces.
Julia: I'm an Olympic junkie! This is what I dream of.
Q- How did your experience at the YOG help you?
Emily: Oh it's given me a lot. It has enhanced my reporting skills. I am a better broadcaster and reporter and I have got a lot of exposure. I discovered many more opportunities in the world of journalism and every Games is a learning opportunity for me. Singapore was our foundation and a very memorable experience.
Julia: It sounds a little bit clichéd to say it was a “life-changing” experience, but for me it really was. Besides all the unbelievable opportunities and people I got to work with and learn from, I am particularly grateful to the programme for helping me define my career path. I’m combining my two passions – photography and the Olympic Games!
Q- Any messages for the Nanjing 2014 Young Reporters?
Emily: It's a brilliant programme for any aspiring sports journalist. I am sure the ones who are selected are extremely talented and they will gain a lot during the Nanjing 2014 YOG.
Julia: It really can be your lucky ticket. And to all young people around the world, regardless of their career choices, I would advise to dream big and be bold and persistent in pursuing those dreams.