WJCC 2017: Sports Media Trainee blog

Katerina Maryschuk and Thomas Rowland have joined the World Curling Federation (WCF) media team at the VoIP Defender World Junior Curling Championships 2017.

They are the latest competition winners of the World Curling Federation (WCF) Sports Media Trainee Programme.

Katerina Maryschuk, 21, Media and Communications at Trinity Western, Langley, British Columbia, Canada
Thomas Rowland, 19, Photography at the University of Central Lancashire, Preston, England

Among their duties this week is to contribute to this daily blog, recounting their experiences from their first international curling event.

Katerina Maryschuk

Day one: A little different, A little the same

안녕하세요 (pronounced ann-yeong-hasey-o)

That’s hello in Korean! My name is Katie Maryschuk and I am the trainee journalist for the VoIP World Junior Curling Championships 2017, here in Gangneung, Korea. I hope you will join me, along with Tom (the photographer) as we share our experiences with you over the next two weeks. I promise to keep you entertained, make you laugh and maybe even make you feel a little emotional. And, did I mention it’s all about curling?

The journey thus far has been one of excitement, many firsts and trusting myself in my abilities – including trusting myself when it comes to knowing how to navigate an airport. This is my first time travelling by myself and travelling on a flight longer than five hours. Do you realise how many movies are available to watch on the plane? My mind was blown.

Korea is different and the same. I attend a small university just outside Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and grew up in a smaller-scale city, so anything bigger than half a million people is large. There is a sign of Western influence for sure – I see KFC and Dunkin’ Donuts, but on the other hand also don’t know 95% of the signage. So far, the people have been nothing short of kind and accommodating, the food has been enjoyable and the company even better.

Today was simply a training day – training for the athletes but also training for the many people working behind the scenes. Since these championships are a test event for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, it requires exact and precise set-ups, systems and procedures. For example, there are ten teams for each gender, and usually that would mean there would be five sheets to curl on. In this case, there are only four and that is for specific Olympic and television purposes: there are four production crews and each time you add a sheet, you add a whole host of extra crew members. We are trying to mimic the Olympics! How neat is that? It’s amazing to think it is less than one year away and it’ll be happening right here!

I am thankful for today for many reasons. Something I was most nervous about was that I would be thrown into the deep end without any handle on the tasks, order of events or feel for the venue. We had today to be in the venue, find out where everything is, set up camp (a little bit) and communicate what we think the next few days will look like. My heart was calmed, my nervousness subsided and I had the day to get my bearings. I am being mentored by Mike Haggerty (World Curling Federation journalist), and so far, he has been an unreal guide in introducing me to people, but also encouraging me to step up and speak for myself.

The biggest wave of reassurance and comfort was felt today once I actually started talking to the athletes. Not only are most of them my age or younger, but they are honestly so kind and genuine. Some are just as nervous as I am to be here, and others, if confident, bring a sort of congenial humour and warmth to the atmosphere here. Even while helping with team photos, the athletes were talking with us and it was a moment of realization when I thought, hey, I can do this!

Day four: The power of the game

It’s only day three and this game already has a huge place in my heart!

Today (Saturday 18 February) was really fantastic and very similar to the past two days. However, what made today so special was a moment of realisation during my time in the mix zone interviewing athletes – the mix zone is a cordoned off area that we go to after games when we want to interview athletes. They must pass through the zone and we have the chance to grab them and ask for quotes.

Now, I have grown up around sports. I played basketball and volleyball in high school and have been competing in track and field since the wee age of eight, but there is something about curling that really speaks to me. There is an interest to learn how to play, but even more than that I think the sport really sets in my heart what the real purpose of sport as a whole is.

Growing up playing and competing, I only ever played against English speaking athletes. The odd time or two we would compete against those from Australia, but they speak English too! That’s as cultural as it got. Some of my team mates back home in Vancouver are from Scotland, but again, they speak English as well.

Today, I was standing in the mix zone and I was interviewing the skip from Korea [pictured above, © WCF / Richard Gray]. For starters, I felt so blessed to be even standing where I was and having the ability to speak to those players. For me the pivotal moment was when I finished interviewing her and took a step back. I thought to myself, ”I just interviewed a world junior curling skip from Korea!” Of course I had a translator (thanks Mok!) but the moment in itself was so surreal. I was having an authentic conversation with another human being that didn’t speak my language and was using sport as the medium in which to communicate. I simply love that!

The power of curling and in sport in general is how it transcends all boundaries. What other institution do you know of that does that? Later on in the day, I had the opportunity to interview players from USA, Italy, and Norway. While many of them speak English, I thought back to my interview with my Korean skip. How is it that we have the ability to participate in and be a part of something that can happen regardless of language? Regardless of location, without question of status, wealth, gender, and a host of other divisions. This is why I do what I do, and this is why I love the institution of sport, despite its many ups and downs.

If you have never been to a bonspiel, let me explain that there is a special moment at the beginning of a game where the teams line up. Now, I am a fairly emotional person, so you’ll have to bear with me on this. I continue to watch #PyeongChang2018 promo videos during various breaks and get teary eyed but it is the moment when a country’s anthem is played while the teams are lined up. Today, it was Scotland’s anthem. The waterworks were flowing and I’m not even from Scotland!

Something about standing proud on that line, ready to take the ice, ready to perform and feeling the passion and purpose behind it all is full of emotion, sentiment and warmth of genuine spirit. That’s what this is really about. It’s about something that allows these athletes to represent who they are and their identity within their country, but furthermore, come together and unify under one event, one time and one purpose. I get teary eyed as the anthem plays, thinking about the reason every athlete is here, thinking about the weight that this sport has in bringing every one of these athletes together in one place. It’s mighty powerful if you ask me.

Day seven: Reaching perfection!

I’ve always struggled with this. Reaching perfection that is. I’ve always been hard on myself ever since I can remember.

So, it is natural that sports reporting falls into this category of self deprecation as well.

Let me tell you something though – I don’t think we are meant to reach perfection. That’s right. Instead, I really believe we are meant to be raw, unedited and filled with flaws for a very specific reason.

The past few days have been the biggest testament of this. In my own mind, I have this idea that if I continue to work on something, I will get better at it. There’s a high chance you might agree. If I practice something until kingdom come, I will eventually get better at it. Practice makes perfect right? I also have this belief that if I work on something enough, I will eventually become an ace. Perfect. No flaws, no mistakes. Ever!

In reality, this sort of isn’t true. I mean, working on something will in time improve my abilities, but I mean it isn’t true in a way that perfect is just so ridiculously hard to achieve. My time on the media bench stands true to this – I love writing these blogs, I resonate so much with the passion and intensity behind the lives of athletes, as told in feature stories, and I love interacting with followers on social media. With that being said, I really, really struggle with game recaps. Or round-ups as we like to call them.

Photo: Usually I’m looking a little bit more excited than this…probably post lunch food coma. (© WCF / Richard Gray)

A few years back I was a media assistant for the Sports Information Director at my school, Trinity Western. My sole job was to write game recaps, and when I finished my practicum, I fell into a deep dislike for this type of writing. With a single purpose and mission during that time, I became tired of the seemingly uncreative rhetoric and lack of response from my posts.

Then Cameron [MacAllister, Communications Manager] and Mike [Haggrety, journalist], who I am with, said to me, “So Katie, we’d like you to write the game round-up. How do you feel about that?” Uhhh….how do I feel about that?! I feel nervous, and in the words of American rap-star Eminem: “palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy.”

I knew coming into this progamme that there was a high chance I would write game recaps, I knew in my heart that I would want to challenge myself to take on something that I was so dearly bad at but I still dreaded that moment. My heart says that I would have asked to write one eventually, but it would have been an awfully long and drawn out battle with my head.

At one point a few months ago, a mentor of mine said, “why don’t we make our strengths better? We are always focusing on bringing our weaknesses up to par with our strengths, why don’t we pursue our strengths?” While I think that is true to an extent, I also know that without working on our weaknesses, we aren’t going to become well-rounded individuals. I don’t want to be lopsided you know?

So, I said yes. I took on the task of writing game round-ups. So far I’ve written four of them. The first one was pretty messy. Cameron is really kind about it but I know they are far from perfect. Like really far. But I think that’s what I’m getting at here – in my case of being a media trainee, they aren’t meant to be perfect and there certainly isn’t just one way to go about bringing the information to light. Don’t get me wrong – I need to do my best, CHECK CHECK CHECK as Cameron says and write in active not passive (thanks Mike). I need to ensure that I am delivering the best possible content, but at the same time give myself a little grace. I firmly believe the experience of doing something that I am so uncomfortable with has such potent possibilities. Every time I write the round-up, something new always pops up, something new to edit, consider, and tweak. Always! First it was writing in the language of the WCF, next it was making sure I included the proper curling lingo, the third gave me an opportunity to shave off unimportant sections and the last round-up from yesterday evening reminded me that I need to double check scores. Half of the games I wrote about had different scores in the round-up.

Photo: I promise you I don’t just chow down on Campino’s all day (© WCF / Tom Rowland)

There is something really humbling about having your work combed through and edited by someone else. This doesn’t just go for sports writing – it applies to everything in life; submitting papers in university, sending the first draft of a book into a publisher, submitting photos to a contest. I kindly remind myself that EVERYTHING needs a second pair of eyes, it’s alright to mess up, the lessons learned are far more valuable had I not even made the effort, and in fact, I am not meant to be perfect at this. Instead of aspiring to reach perfection, why not embrace the teachable moments along the way?

Oh, and here’s to writing more game round-ups, because I think I am starting to like them.

Day ten: The day-to-day media operations

Only two more full days here in Gangneung before we all fly back home! These past two weeks have been an unreal blessing and filled with lessons, trials, excitement and joy. While I love arriving back in Vancouver (I lovvveeee Vancouver, don’t even get me started!), leaving this place is going to be really hard.

If you caught Thomas’ entry from Wednesday, you’ll know that he went behind the scenes and expanded on some of the work that goes on in regards to the live feed broadcast. In a similar fashion and in reflection of the entire programme, I wanted to give you a verbal tour of what it is I have been blessed to work on. I can get pretty personal/emotional when it comes to blog posts (as you may have already seen), so when I think “blogging” I think, “alright, it’s time to share some of my inner thoughts.” Today will be a little more straightforward.

Games start at 9am every morning. We walk to the arena and make sure we have a clear understanding of the game while it’s going on – who is playing, how teams are ranked, who has the last stone advantage and where they lie going into their next games. While round robin is over and play-offs are in full swing, the scheduled round robin sessions had a 9am, 2pm and 7pm session start. When the round robin games were still on, we were encouraged to watch as much of the game as possible in order to generate valid insight to create genuine questions. Mike Haggerty, my mentor, is a pro at this – he watches the games, develops a good understanding of what is going on and then when it comes time to head down to the mix zone, he blasts out questions that garner a great response. The questions he asks aren’t cut and dry either, they’re interesting and it’s almost as though he is having a conversation with the athletes.

For myself, I watch the games, and since I am not 100% familiar with curling, I write notes down as the games go along, taking note of important ends and key shots. Games can take anywhere between two and three hours, so when the games finish, we walk (sometimes run) down to the mix zone. We exit the building, go outside, down a flight of stairs and back inside to get there.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the mix zone is the area where athletes pass through before they return back to their dressing rooms. Most often we speak with the winning skip, but sometimes it is also the losing skip. This has been a huge test – for myself and the athletes as well. Imagine having to give an interview after losing a game – not fun for the athletes and definitely a test for myself in knowing what boundaries not to cross. I do my best to ask two to three questions, and sometimes more if time permits. The greatest part of this is that I developed some good connections with the skips, and sometimes the vice skips. I think I interviewed Canadian skip, Kristin Streifel, five times and American skip Andrew Stopera four times (tied with Switzerland, Norway, Russia and Sweden). It’s so neat to see the different emotions that come through, as the mix zone is pretty much the first place they go after a game – the emotions can be pretty raw, especially in terms of excitement, disappointment, sadness and relief.

Growing up in the sport of track and field, I came to know what track athletes look like, sound like and how they carry themselves. Sometimes they can be a bit brash – that’s just the way it goes. Curling athletes are completely different. While there are some teams that have confidence, it doesn’t appear to be over the top or cocky. The first word I used to describe curling players was humble. Then calm. Then characteristic of having integrity. I admire that so much, as I simply am not used to that in track and field. Not saying it doesn’t happen, but it is much more rare. Simply, a different sport!

After we interview, we make sure we have all of our quotes. This sometimes means running upstairs to check the next game and then racing back downstairs because that game has ended and we need to interview someone. Overall, we were able to interview every single team, both men and women. How neat is that?!

We come back upstairs and transcribe our quotes. This means listening to what we have asked and taking the athletes words and writing them out. Then, depending on who is writing the game round up, Mike, Cameron and myself communicate who we send our quotes to. In the case of USA and Canada, we work in tandem with their governing curling bodies (Curling Canada and USA Curling) to provide quotes for their write-ups. In a few instances, www.insidethegames.biz even took some of our quotes too! A newspaper back home in Surrey, British Columbia, took quotes from Curling Canada – our conversations again! How neat is that?!

The session round-up (a full report on who won, who lost, the consequences and advancements) is created and we then have the large task of updating our social media – Facebook and Twitter mainly and usually Instagram at the start or end of each day. The round up must be posted, a Facebook album is added to with images from both Richard and Tom, Chris Hamilton back in the World Curling Federation headquarters in Scotland updates the live feed highlights to both sites and there are a host of other items to take care of. We also use Adobe Photoshop to edit the game fixture and result pages. These items are posted as well, and whatever we do on Facebook, we mirror on Twitter. All of the social media tasks are shared between Cameron and I and we make sure we know who has posted what on which sites.

After everything is done, we double check everything. That has also been a theme of my time here in Korea – check, check, check. We go over the round up one last time, make sure everything is published according to standard and then prepare for the next session. Sometimes we are posting wrap up items for session two at the same time as prep items for session three.

We get a break before the start of every new session – just enough time to eat lunch (or dinner) and come back to watch and prep for the next game! If there isn’t anything session-related to do during the game, we all have specific assignments to work on – mainly feature stories for myself and planning out what comes next.

It’s hard to believe it’s already day ten! They say that the best way to gain experience is to simply go out and do what you want to learn, and I feel that has proved true in these circumstances. While I know classroom knowledge is crucial and important, I don’t think I could have ever learned how to interview someone without actually being put into the position of asking questions in real time. Real time means room for mistakes, but like I said earlier, without mistakes, we won’t grow and learn.

Thank you for coming along on this journey with Tom and I – we have a few more things to share with you so stay tuned for some more features and a surprise or two! After all, the championships are not over!

Day 12: My top five!

For our last blog post, we wanted to write something that could dual both as a reflection and a final post. We both have yet to write reflections (those will come within a week), but after having spent some time together, we both have our “TOP 5” takeaways from Korea. When we discussed writing this, we knew top five could mean anything – best points of the championship, most difficult thing learned, best place to eat, biggest lesson… pretty much anything! So, here it is, our last blog post:

When it came time to think about the top five things that have shaped my time in Korea, I immediately thought of the experience as a whole. How could I come up with five specific things that describe my time here? As I started thinking and writing, the overarching themes all started with the letter P. Without further ado, here are my top five (not in any particular order):

The people – The people I have met here are absolutely outstanding. This ranges from the athletes themselves, to our WCF team, to the volunteers, to just generally the people of Korea. This place is warm, inviting if you will, and my interactions with everyone here have nothing short of positive and amazing. While the days have been long and I am leaving Korea fairly tired, the WCF team and my time on the media bench has been really special. Beyond learning the ins and outs of reporting, we’ve had fun – a lot of fun actually. Maybe too much fun. The conversations have been so special and I feel as though I actually made authentic connections.

The providers – The experience as a whole would not have happened without the WCF, the event itself and the fact that for whatever reason they thought that I would be a good candidate for the programme. It all started in my dorm room in Ottawa, considering applying > applying >> being accepted and then this all falling into place. The travelling, the interviewing, the conversations, the growing – all would not have happened without the WCF. So thank you! Furthermore, PyeongChang 2018 and the city of Gangneung have obviously been key players in this as well – this is a test event, so to have the experience of being in an Olympic venue is amazing.

The place – Korea itself has proven to be much more amazing than I ever anticipated. As I mentioned in my earlier post, it is different yet very similar to home. The hospitality and kindness extended by the locals is a beautiful thing. I am so thankful to feel safe walking to and from the venue and to be able to look out the hotel window where there are mountains and to be able to visit the beach. This place has it all!

The potential – Feeling encouraged and having learned a lot, I feel as though my career could really take off now! In experiences like this, I am reminded of why I chose media and communications as my major and human kinetics as my minor. People often react with a “those are two very different things!” but it’s events and opportunities like that remind me of my decision in the best way possible. There is so much potential leading out of this event and I can’t wait to see what comes of it.

The promise – There isn’t a direct promise that I have been given, this promise is more unspoken than written. It is as though there is a promise that from now on, from this point on, you will be welcome in the curling community – both with the WCF family and in the curling world. This stems from the connections built within our team but also with Curling Canada and Team USA Curling. As well, it helps that that both of my home teams are here and make me feel more patriotic as ever.

Final reflection

It’s been almost two weeks since I left South Korea. I arrived back home in Vancouver on 27 February and the next day I was whisked back to the usual: work, school, life as I know it. I do miss Korea a lot – everything from the food, to the air, to the arena. It wasn’t just a break from school, it was a time to reflect on the role sports play in my own life and how I want to see that pan out in the future.

It was fast-paced, yet restful. It was separate from my life back in Canada, and I think I needed that break. However, there is something that really sticks out in my mind that encapsulates the entire experience and I thought might be valid to reflect on for my final post.

Imagine yourself at work, at school, wherever you may find yourself. Now imagine the people you do those things with. What would you do without those people? Even if you don’t like them (or perhaps you absolutely love them!), they are still people who help define your workspace, your time spent away from home. For me, the people that I had the amazing experience of working with in Korea were the most memorable aspect. You might be asking, but Katie, what about everything that you learned regarding journalism? Well, it’s all part of the same bigger picture.

I believe in this specific case, the people are what truly made the experience unique, extraordinary and life-changing. My mentors, the WCF team, my co-trainee, the athletes and coaches as well as our Korean hosts, made me feel welcome and valued. I was not simply a fourth-year student passing through the ins and outs of the sports media programme. I was a student of my mentors and co-workers, but more than that, I was an ally, a friend I guess you could say. It was when conversations went past curling and into the realm of current events, family, career aspirations, the institution of sport, that I really felt at home – like I had a place.

Like I said, I learned so much. I learned more than I could ever imagine when it comes to International Standards for writing, publications, social media and the plethora of other platforms on which we worked. I learned concepts and ways of doing tasks I had never even heard of before (like the mix zone!) and was exposed to such a wonderful and high level of international sport. I don’t take this lightly nor for granted. At the same time, I don’t think working on those tasks and features would have been as exciting had the staff been focused on simply passing me through the system. They stopped, took the time to invest in my life, and for that I feel encouraged and forever grateful.

What can I say about Korea? Wow. It’s hard to sum up 14 days into one post and while I am sure I could write for ages on the specific details of each day, I think there is simply too much to go over. You would probably get tired reading it too! In short, if you’re even considering applying for this programme, do it! Even if you don’t understand how it could work out, or if you are hesitant, just apply. You never know what could happen.

I am immensely thankful to the WCF for selecting myself (and Tom!) and for bestowing the honour of writing, designing, interviewing, and creating. When I say this experience was life-changing, I mean it in the way that it is more life-grounding. A cornerstone moment perhaps. A moment from which I can move forward with career-defining initiative and excitement to pursue whatever comes next.

That’s all, thanks for reading along with Tom and I!

Tom Rowland

Day two: A picture says a thousand words

Hello my name is Tom, I am the trainee Photographer working out here in Gangneung, Korea for the VoIP World Junior Curling Championships 2017. I feel Katie has set the standard high for blogging, but I will try my best! I’m not much of a writer but as they say, pictures say a thousand words, and to make up for the lack of experience of blogging, I will share some images that I have taken throughout the day.

I’m currently in my second year studying photography at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) in Preston, England. I gained the opportunity to come to Korea and work with the WCF through university and I was fortunate enough to be accepted to come along! So far Korea has been amazing! I have travelled from Blackpool, England to Gangneung, Korea which is the furthest I have been from home. I have been graced with an wonderful team of people and the minute I stepped off the plane I felt a part of the team.

Today has been the first day of competition and my first experience of photographing curling. I have joined Richard Gray (WCF Photography Manager) at the side of the ice getting up close and photographing the beautiful sport of curling. Richard – a former international level curler – has taught me lots about the sport in such a short amount of time and kindly shared some of his expertise. He has given me the confidence and knowledge to go out and capture some amazing images, I think he deserves a pay rise. (I was not told to say this, promise)!

The first day photographing curling is coming to an end – the people I have had the chance to work with and meet already have been incredible and from what I have experienced today, I am really looking forward to the next ten days.

Day five: From Blackpool to Gangneung with a camera in hand

Korean culture was a massive surprise to me, coming from Blackpool, England where all you ever see is seagulls and rain, to this wonderful country 5,500 miles away from home. The place we are staying – Gangneung, inspired me to try and capture my experience of South Korean culture using photography! Street photography has always been an interest of mine and whenever I’m lucky enough to travel, I always make sure I have a camera in hand.

The streets around the hotel, are full of life, crammed with bars, restaurants and Soju – Korea’s most popular alcoholic drink (and now mine too)! The most interesting thing I found about Gangneung were the locals and I wanted to try and focus on capturing people of Gangneung during my time here. I headed out with my camera and wandered the streets stopping to photograph anything I found interesting. A part of my job in Blackpool is stopping people when they walk past me at Blackpool Pleasure Beach and asking them if they would like a photo taken, so I naturally started asking the locals if I could take their photo, most of the time they didn’t speak english but they never hesitated to stop and pose. The result with people being so open lead to some really interesting images that I’d love to share with you all.

Taking photos on the streets in Gangneung is a completely different experience to taking them back in the UK, I felt very safe and welcomed which allowed me to capture some really special moments. As well as sports photography, I love taking portraits of people and has always been a passion of mine and whilst I’m out here, I will make the most of it and hopefully create some more interesting portraits of the people of Gangneung, South Korea. Being fortunate enough to be selected to come out to Korea through the WCF Sports Media Trainee Programme has so far allowed me to see and experience new amazing things and not just within the sport of curling.

I’m loving every minute of it and can’t wait for the next week has in store for me!

Day eight: What goes on behind the scenes

As the VoIP World Junior Curling Championships 2017 is a test event for the Winter Olympics next year here in PyeongChang, I thought I would take some time to have a look at what goes into making a real Olympic event.

I thought I would start with the TV guys I have been seeing them setting up all their gear through the week and it made me think about just how much goes into viewing something live on tv.

I was lucky enough to get the chance to see how it all works during the Korea v Scotland men’s game!

I was introduced to Cam Collingwood [Director] and the rest of the team that are involved with the live broadcasts of the games on YouTube. Talk about team work, each one of the guys involved have to be completely synchronised and I was amazed at how all their roles fit perfectly together! The only way I can describe it – it’s like they were writing a bestselling book and taking it in turns to write a word each.

The live streams all start with the cameramen, Kal [Genereux] and Simon [Haggstrom], who are by the ice capturing the whole game on camera. The footage from the two cameramen and the overhead camera, controlled by Patrik [Hagglund], gets sent to the WCTV office at the venue, where Cam selects each angle that is seen by the viewers adding the visual overlays done by Berth [Brandell, who set up and runs Live Channel, the production company here]! At the same time as all this is going on Johan [Brandell] creates the replays and recaps that can be shown during the break. Jonas Almstrom [pictured, © WCF / Tom Rowland] is in charge of sound, monitoring the players microphones and choosing what everyone hears when watching the live stream on YouTube, including the commentary by Sander [Roelvaag] and Eleanor [Adviento]. Seeing these guys all working together has shown me how much work it actually takes and how important it is to all be on the same page as one another!

Today, was also the first day I was fully relied on for taking the photos of the morning session! I was warned of the challenge when I stumbled downstairs for breakfast, but I’m always up for a challenge! Richard [Gray, my mentor] has been mentoring me throughout the week, well enough that I feel confident to get all the shots that are needed! After going through all 885 images I felt quite proud of myself as I knew I had some great shots from that session!

Day 11: Gonna miss photographing an amazing sport

It’s sadly coming to the end of the event and reflecting on the past two weeks I have realised how much I have learnt about photography and even myself!

The past two weeks have been very valuable and there is a lot I will take away with me on my flight back to England. I have seen myself grow as a photographer in many ways and found a new love for photographing curling.

My daily routine has changed these past few days as the finals are starting. At the beginning of the game I have been photographing as much as possible and then coming back before the end to get the key celebration shot if the teams, whilst trying to avoid appearing on Korean TV – as MBC (Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation – Leading South Korean television network) are covering some of the medal games alongside the WCTV crew. Photographing the games whilst they are both being broadcasted has become a new challenge, I’m having to find new angles to photograph where I can’t be seen by cameras but still make sure I get the essential shots.

Access to the ice is now restricted due to cameras in the aisles between the sheets, meaning I can’t get as close I previously could during the week. This challenge has really pushed me to experiment and think more about the types of shots I can get, I have been shooting from behind the scoreboard recently getting a unique angle looking between the other athletes.

Me and Richard towards the end of the games, have been focused on getting a photo of the winning team celebrating, which is a bigger challenge than you think! We have been working together by covering the celebrations from two different angles to guarantee we get the shot, It’s a big challenge but when you know you have got the photo you were after, It puts a big smile on your face!

Making some amazing new friends during my journey has probably been one of the best parts of the trip and It’s been a pleasure to work with them all everyday! It’s gonna be tough when I get back home, I’m really gonna miss photographing such an amazing sport and working alongside the incredible people at WCF!