The XXIII Olympic Winter Games provide the focal point for a teaching project at the French School of Seoul, in the capital of the Republic of Korea. Students from a number of classes have been invited to create and run a PyeongChang 2018-themed newspaper and podcast, with a lucky few earning a trip to the Olympic Winter Games for a look behind the scenes and a chance to meet athletes from the France team.
When they turned up at Club France – the headquarters of the French delegation at PyeongChang 2018 – for a media engagement on Tuesday 20 February, the members of the country’s bobsleigh team faced a different kind of interview to the ones they are accustomed to dealing with. Facing them were are group of budding reporters who, although small in stature and young in years, had some taxing and well thought-out questions to put to them. With notebooks and cameras at the ready, the intrepid youngsters kept the French bobsleighers, dressed in their official white uniforms, right on their toes. “How much time do you spend on training?” one asked. “Why did you choose bobsleigh?” posed another. “Are there any training facilities in France apart from the one at La Plagne?” came another question.
A Games-oriented project
Marjorie Boussard, the headteacher of the French School of Seoul, explained how the interview came about: “With us being lucky enough to have the Olympic Winter Games in the Republic of Korea, we started making arrangements to meet the athletes. Fortunately, I know one of the members of the bobsleigh team, Dorian Hauterville, which made things easier.”
“We came up with a ‘journalism’ project, starting up a newsletter and a podcast on the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” explained Boussard. “The children were all very enthusiastic. They really got involved in the project and the school also organised an Olympic Games-themed day.” A group of 15 children were selected to go to PyeongChang where they had the chance to take a behind-the-scenes look at the Olympic Winter Games and to meet with the French bobsleigh team.
Probing questions“It was a lovely moment,” said Loïc Costerg, pilot of the French four-man bob. “It’s really nice to meet some French people living in Korea. They had done their homework and asked lots of relevant questions. And it’s just a real pleasure to see children taking such a big interest in your sport.” The young journalists were not too star-struck during their encounter with the Olympians to throw some probing questions at them. “I asked them if they had to train especially hard before the Games,” said 10-year-old Ina. “I’m really proud that I was able to come to PyeongChang.
Memorable adventureAnother of the youngsters, nine-year-old Gaspard, was given the important task of recording the questions and answers. Donning headphones, he rose to the challenge with the skill of a professional.
Indeed, perhaps the only thing that marked these budding young journalists apart from their senior counterparts, was their eagerness to get their autograph books out, and they left with a full set of signatures. Hopefully, their memorable adventure at the Winter Games, not to mention the special encounter with members of the French Olympic team, will inspire some of them to forge careers as sports journalists. Watch this space!