Ji Ye: “My Olympic odyssey”
A Young Reporter at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Singapore 2010, Ji Ye now works for the Xinhua News Agency in his native China. Here, he reflects on his YOG experience and how it has helped shape his career.
Beijing and beyond
I was a volunteer at the Olympic Games Beijing 2008, and graduated from university the following year. My passion for sport and journalism led me to become a writer for the Xinhua News Agency in 2009, and in turn took me to Singapore, where I was a Young Reporter and an ambassador for the YOG Nanjing 2014.
The YOG Singapore 2010 were the first major sports event I covered in my career. Staying in the Youth Olympic Village with young athletes, I witnessed first-hand the magic of the Olympic Games from a very privileged position. I covered judo, diving and football and was mentored by Lucia Montanarella, Richard Palfreyman, Tracey Holmes, Alan Abrahamson and Peter Charles, who are all enormously experienced journalists. I learned so much from them.
New media horizons
In 2010, social media was beginning to emerge and starting to have a huge impact on journalism. As a Young Reporter, it was fascinating to explore how to report from the Games on this new platform, and this prepared me well for the technology-led media environment in which I now work.
Higher expectations in Innsbruck
The YOG Innsbruck 2012 were different, because more was expected from me and the other Young Reporters who had been in Singapore. In 2010, some of what we did was theoretical, but two years later we were there to report from the start, to get out in the field and work to tight deadlines. It was a bigger challenge, but one I enjoyed.
A global adventure
My first role with Xinhua was as an editor, translating foreign sports news into Chinese. I then started to cover sporting events, while also editing articles sent in by our sportswriters. I covered the Olympic Games London 2012, the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in 2014 and the Olympic Games Rio 2016. I relocated back to Beijing in October 2016, and I’m now specialising in stories on the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, as well as football and badminton. I have also covered the Copa America and the Asian Games in Guangzhou, as well as the World Badminton Championships and Formula One.
South America assignment
Being based in Brazil for the FIFA World Cup and then the Olympic Games Rio 2016 was a rewarding as well as challenging experience. Xinhua sent around 50 reporters to the World Cup and 119 to the Olympic Games. As well as my journalism assignments, I was in place to help organise accommodation and transport for them, and work on logistics.
In Brazil, I was able to interview the IOC President, Thomas Bach, and Brazilian football star Ronaldo, as well as badminton great Lin Dan and British diver Tom Daley. Ronaldo gave me an exclusive interview, which was later retweeted by Reuters and the Rio 2016 Organising Committee.
Beyond the written word
In the multi-media era, I think a reporter should be able to master both print and video journalism. As a traditional print journalist, I’m now learning video journalism to become a better, all-round reporter.
Exploring Nanjing’s legacy
I was recently asked by Philippe Furrer, the Head of YOG Engagement Learn & Share, to make a video focusing on the legacy of the YOG Nanjing 2014. It was shown at the IOC Session in Lima [Peru] last year, which made my very proud. The video showed, three years later, the number of positive impacts the YOG have had on the city, in particular in terms of sporting legacy and youth involvement. Working with my colleagues Wu Xinsheng, Wang Hengzhi and Pei Lei, we interviewed a former YOG athlete, a YOG volunteer and students who have become actively involved in sport as a result of the YOG. Perhaps most importantly, we spoke to the residents of Nanjing, the people living in the city. After the video was shown, I was honoured that Christophe Dubi, the Olympic Games Executive Director, wrote to me to express his gratitude for the documentary.
In February, I will travel to the Republic of Korea to cover the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. It will be my first Olympic Winter Games and, I hope, an exciting experience. After that, I will attend the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and then, of course, the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.