#WJCC2020 – Sports Media Trainee Blog

© WCF / Richard Gray

Olivia Crook-Simiana and Emil Cooper are the most recent winners of the Sports Media Trainee Programme. With this, both students have joined the World Curling Federation media team at the World Junior Curling Championships – Olivia as a journalist and Emil a photographer.

Throughout the week both Olivia and Emil will share their experiences through this blog

Being in Krasnoyarsk, Russia for the World Junior Curling Championships marks the first time for both working at an international sporting event.

Olivia, 19, studying Joint Honours Communications and Political Science (French Immersion) at the University of Ottawa.

Emil, 18, studying Bachelor of Design (International) majoring in Landscape Architecture at the Queensland University of Technology.

Olivia: Day one – “Welcome to Russia!”

© WCF / Richard Gray

Ottawa, Toronto, Amsterdam, Moscow, Krasnoyarsk. 31 hours of travel. 12 hours ahead of home time. After months of anticipation, we finally made it!

Curling has been a major part of my life since I was two years old, playing on the kitchen floor with pot lids and my mom’s Brownie broom. As a curler, I dreamed for years of attending an international curling event, I just never imagined it would be as a journalist with the WCF!

Day One, after landing in Krasnoyarsk, we went to our hotel for a much-needed rest before diving into the event. I started off on a strong note by oversleeping for an hour and frantically rushing to meet up with everyone. Note to self: set multiple alarms!

We drove to the Crystal Ice Arena to get our first look at the stunning facility. The other trainee, Emil, and I remarked on how much we wanted to take a slide on the beautifully crafted ice. Thankfully for us, the arena was not as chilly as we had expected it to be here in Siberia. I wonder if that sentiment will last…

Once back at the hotel, the team finished off the day with bowling. Yes, bowling. Thanks to Emil’s keen eye, we headed up to the third floor of our hotel where we were amazed to see a 32-lane bowling alley! We had great fun and thanks to some curling analogies from Richard and ball-weight advice from Chris and Mariann, Emil and I managed to score some strikes!

Day Two was practice day for the athletes, which for us meant team photos and introductions to the skips. Mike Haggerty joined us, and I enjoyed being under his wing and learning more about what it is to be a journalist. Mike introduced me to the skips whom, to my relief, have an impressive level of English which will limit my need for Google Translate.

To finish day two, the team had a love-ly Valentine’s Day supper. Emil and I later returned to the bowling alley to polish our skills before bed.

Funny side stories from the past three days:

1. Chris paying an exorbitant amount of money for a dreadful cup of coffee in Moscow while I simultaneously find a Tim Horton’s gift card in my pocket. How Canadian eh?
2. The team finding out that I am incapable of buttering toast, but skilled at buttering bread. Confused? Yes, so is everybody else on the team. I cannot explain it, but after realising that the table went silent and all eyes were on me buttering un-toasted bread, I realised it may be catching on.
3. Emil whispering to me, “what part of the cow do the cheeks come from?” To be certain, I searched it up and to both of our relief, cow cheeks do in fact come from the facial muscle of the cow and not the rear muscles.

We have only been here for two days and already have so many memories, laughs, and new friendships. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the experience has in store!

Emil: Day Two — “Finding my Footing”

© WCF / Richard Gray

Six months ago if you told me I’d be in the middle of Siberia at a world curling event I’d say you’re lying. Yet six months later here I am, starting off my adventure at this year’s World Junior Curling Championships in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.

With three flights, 24 hours of travel and barely any sleep, I was soon stepping off my flight from Bangkok into the cool, crisp Krasnoyarsk air.

Coming from eastern Australia, it was quite an abrupt temperature change from the hot and humid weather of my hometown Brisbane. Following team introductions including meeting my photography mentor, Richard Gray and fellow trainee Olivia, the rest of the day was very relaxed with dinner and bowling to finish it up.

Day two as a photographer provided me an excellent opportunity to find my stride in processing, editing and uploading photos on the WCF gallery. With 119 athletes to photograph across four training sessions, team photos and individual player headshots, it proved to be a quick yet tiring day.

Having competed in the World Junior-B Curling Championships two months earlier, the day gave me an excellent chance to catch up mates who had moved up a division. Following another quick bowling session, with Olivia showing me how it’s done, it was off to bed before the commencement of the competition.

Waking up bright and early at 7am — for a university student’s standards — we made our way to the Crystal Ice Arena for the first day of competition and day three of my time in Russia. With three sessions and the opening ceremonies all in one go, I knew the rest of the day would be one of the longest and toughest of the competition which turned out to be the understatement of the year.

Despite reading over the previous trainee blogs numerous times, nothing could prepare me for the sheer excitement and nerves when stepping out onto the ice for the first time as a photographer. Packed stands, beautifully prepared ice and high-level curling all provided for an excellent photography environment.

Partway through the second session my photography mentor, Richard Gray, provided me with a feedback session. This proved to be a highly beneficial opportunity, with excellent advice and feedback on composition, framing and finding the perfect backdrop. Moving forward, these key points greatly influenced how I saw and captured the remainder of the day’s matches.

17 hours after leaving the hotel I was finally back in my room with the day’s work complete. With another seven days of the competition left I’m extremely excited to see where this adventure will take me!

Olivia: Day three – “Time to Be a Journalist… and a Tourist!

© WCF / Richard Gray

Saturday was the first day of competition and while the athletes were figuring out the ice, I was figuring out my duties. Time to become a journalist!

First up, interviewing. I was nervous at first, but the more I do it, the more natural it becomes. It helps that the interviewees are my age, so it’s less intimidating because we are all trying to do our best to overcome this common, yet unfamiliar territory.

Next, I learned how to do reports following the sessions. It’s definitely something that will take practice. But just like interviewing, the more I do it, the more I learn from Mike and Chris on how to improve it, the better the final results turn out.

One of my favourite parts of my role thus far is the cycle of tasks. For the most part, I get to sit back, relax, and enjoy the games from start to finish. Once games finish though, adrenaline kicks in. I have to dash down to the mixed zone to collect quotes from the winning skips as they come off the ice. After that, I have to transcribe the interviews and write a report to briefly summarise everything that just happened. Once that’s done, I send my work to Chris who then deconstructs and rebuilds it before unleashing it to the view of the international audience.

After a 15 first day of work at the arena, Emil, Mariann and I got Sunday morning off to explore Krasnoyarsk! Time to become a tourist!

Emil and I set off on foot to find Krasnoyarsk’s Eiffel Tower. Along the way we met a local air traffic controller who was very kind and showed us the way. At first glance, this Eiffel Tower does not compare to the original, but then you realise that you are in the middle of Siberia, surrounded by apartment buildings and a few stray dogs, and you know what? It turns out to be a novel photo-op!

To add to the scene, we bought a baguette and champagne from a nearby supermarket to use as props in our photos. Emil captioned the moment “Vive la France”, but I wonder if maybe “Vive le Krasnoyarsk” is more fitting?

Later, Mariann, Emil, and I caught a taxi to the Paraskeva Pyatnitsa Chapel. The inside of the chapel is very ornate, and the view surrounding it is astounding.

Krasnoyarsk definitely has some hidden beauty that I looked forward to exploring more of over the next week! Before leaving the area, the three of us found a playground and enjoyed pushing each other on the swing and climbing the structures. It was fun to act like a kid again!

Talking to Emil yesterday, we both expressed our love and gratitude for the experience we have been given by the WCF. I was going to write here that this adventure will change my life, but then I realised it already has. Time is flying by quickly so it’s a matter of soaking in every drop of opportunity while it lasts!

More funny side stories:

  1. Starting Sunday off with a yummy breakfast (bacon, French toast, and real maple syrup!), then noticing Emil looking at my plate and shaking his head because I had fulfilled yet another Canadian stereotype.
  2. Trying to conduct a post-game interview with the Korean women’s skip and both of us chuckling as we couldn’t understand each other. In the most anti-social yet equally successful interview of all time, we improvised using our cellphones to communicate.

Emil: Day Four — “Exploring Krasnoyarsk”

Norway’s Ingebrigt Bjoernstad © WCF / Emil Cooper

It’s now been six days since I arrived in Krasnoyarsk, with the competition currently in full swing (more on that later) myself and Olivia have been taking full advantage of our time in this beautiful city.

Following on from our previous adventures with Mariann, Olivia and I embarked on a short morning trip into the city centre. Moving through the icy streets towards the Yenisei River and Kommunal’nyy Most bridge, we made sure to stop for numerous impromptu photoshoots along the way.

Walking along the Yenisei we stumbled across yet another playground with the pair of us acting like kids, losing our footing on the snow-covered equipment. Leaving the river behind, the Intercession Cathedral was the next place on our list to visit. Built in the 18th century this stunning and highly ornate building was the only church open in Krasnoyarsk during Soviet rule — thanks Olivia for that history fact!

Leaving the cathedral we spotted a KFC across the street which we couldn’t say no to visiting, although I think their equivalent of Wicked Wings can’t quite match those back home.

With just over an hour before our shuttle to the arena we made a quick trip to the local shopping centre or as Olivia would say ‘mall’. It seems Australians always have a way of either mispronouncing words or using something completely different. Duvet or doona? I’ll leave that one up to you.

Now back to what I’m here for, curling! Arriving back at the rink for the afternoon and evening sessions I’m now falling into a steady rhythm for my photography. Shoot the first few ends, edit and follow up the closing shots of each game.

Despite covering three sessions as the sole WCF photographer, the process is never any less daunting. The constant worry of missing a key photo opportunity is always lingering in my head when on my own. Thankfully it seems I haven’t done so yet — at least I think so.

It’s hard to believe half of my time in Krasnoyarsk is now gone with less than five days till I’m on my way back home.

And of course some funny stories from the day:

  1. Mariann and Olivia switching from speaking English to French in the taxi, leaving me sitting there confused about what’s going on.
  2. Taking my first bite of a Cinnabon that Olivia bought, the reaction on my face was priceless.
  3. Using ramps designed for trolleys and bags as slides to get us down a staircase, surprised neither of us ending up on our backsides!

Olivia: Day five – “Time of My Life”

© WCF / Richard Gray

I think Green Day’s song Time of Your Life describes this experience well. It’s unpredictable, but it’s right, and I sure am having the time of my life.

A week ago, if you had told me I’d be working on my own at times during this week, I probably would have been somewhat apprehensive. Now, after actually doing it, I feel natural in such a position, and I have gained confidence in myself for the future.

In the morning, thanks to Mariann I was not conducting interviews on my own, but I still managed to get four myself which, when games end at the same time, can be a challenge. I have started to notice that when some of the skips finish their games, they come looking for me, knowing that I am their interviewer. I think that’s pretty cool.

After the afternoon women’s session, I conducted a more in-depth interview with the Latvian women’s team, seeing as they are the first team from Latvia to ever compete in a World Juniors! (A feature on this is coming)

Emil and I decided to skip the four-course meal at the arena and instead head to the Planeta Mall for our own four-course meal. We ate some yummy pizza, which we followed up with two sweet, gooey, cinnamon-y, Cinnabons. As you can see, we are taking full advantage of the traditional Russian food here in Krasnoyarsk.

Anybody who knows me knows that I enjoy shopping. Emil however does not, or at least he did not. When we started going around, Emil was following me, warning that he might get bored and leave. That’s when we found him a really cool rubber-ducky jumper (yes Emil I did say jumper), and the rest was history. By the end of the night, we both had our arms full of shopping bags, basking in the joy of a fun evening.

Back at the hotel, Emil and I joined the rest of the team and had drinks and chatted. It’s really nice having people like the WCF team who are equally fun to work with and socialise with.

Before heading to bed, Emil and I were introduced to Kate Caithness, President of the World Curling Federation! I was very excited to meet her and hope to have the chance to talk with her again sometime.

On the drive back to the hotel from the mall last night, I remarked at how there are only a few days left of this adventure to which Emil said “stop, I’m going to get sad.” It’s true, it’s hard not to get sad thinking about all of this being over, but we can’t go there yet. Every day brings new experiences, so we have to be present and just enjoy each moment as they come.

The Silly Side Story Saga Continues:

  1. Emil taught me how to use his camera to take a shot, but it wouldn’t work. Turns out cameras require batteries… who knew?
  2. The woman at the mall information booth refusing to call us a taxi. Calling Mariann while stranded. Me and Emil knocking on an Uber driver’s window and awkwardly managing a ride.
  3. Chris in the WCF office on a quiet phone call with Cam and Emily, during which I somehow spilled boiling water on the wall and caused the machine to sound like a jackhammer. Subtle.

Emil: Day six – “The Big Leagues”

© WCF / Emil Cooper

Thursday afternoon I experienced something I didn’t realise I was going to get out of this trip. The evening prior I was offered the opportunity by Kate Caithness, President of the World Curling Federation, to accompany herself as a photographer on a visit to the local curling facilities.

Having no prior experience in reporting photography, being presented with such an opportunity pushed me greatly out of my comfort zone, something this entire trip has managed to do.

With a later start compared to other mornings I could afford an extra hour of sleep, something I haven’t been getting much of lately, before heading into the Crystal Ice Arena. Getting picked up from the arena shortly after lunch we were soon crossing over the famous Kommunal’nyy Most bridge to Otdykh Island on the southern side of Krasnoyarsk.

Initially arriving at the new five sheet curling facility, located several hundred metres from the pre-existing rink, we toured both the exterior and interior of the structure. The entire setup was extremely impressive, with tiered seating alongside one side and a large ‘backstage’ area behind the home end.

Moving onto the pre-existing facility we were greeted by the next generation of curlers from the top Krasnoyarsk region curling teams. Outfitted with wheelchair curling access, three sheets and a warmup room, this small centre had a lot to offer.

Accompanying this were numerous photoshoots both on and off the ice with Kate and other delegates. As one of two photographers present and the only from the WCF, there was a lot of pressure to deliver. Kate was extremely helpful in this regard, giving me pointers on what to cover and organising group photos, something I am very grateful.

These two setups, alongside the dedicated team that manage them, make the future of curling in Siberia and the Krasnoyarsk region a highly exciting prospect.

Several hundred photos later I was back at the Crystal Ice Arena for the end of the men’s afternoon session accompanying Kate to the VIP section of the arena before heading back to the media bench.

During the session I was offered the opportunity by Mike and Richard to visit the TV truck outside of the arena. Inside were a highly-dedicated group of individuals managing the broadcasting of matches to across the world. The level of communication and teamwork gave me a new admiration for the world of live sport coverage.

It’s hard to believe that today was the final day of round-robin play, it feels like just yesterday that I was stepping off my flight from Australia.

The office © WCF / Emil Cooper

Now for some more funny stories; the fifth edition:

  1. Olivia burning her hand with a hair straighter (this isn’t the funny part) and having me open her water bottle like a child.
  2. Mariann and I exclusively referring to each other as “sir” and “ma’am” whenever we get the chance.
  3. The Swiss women’s vice-skip Marina Loertscher noticing my bright and colourful Happy Socks whilst waiting at the hog line and going “I have that same pair at home!”
  4. Olivia and I debating whether or not it’s really French toast if there isn’t any maple syrup.

Olivia: Day seven – “Gearing Up and Winding Down”

What a week! © WCF / Richard Gray

Friday morning presented another opportunity to explore Krasnoyarsk.

A group of us went to Stolby Nature Reserve, which can be described in one word, breathtaking. I say breathtaking for two reasons: because of its natural beauty; and because I almost lost my breath trying to hike up the steep and icy mountain.

It was quite fun hiking around Stolby, throwing snowballs, and sliding down the mountain with our attaché, Valeria. Originally, we had all been told that we were going on a walk… not a hike like this. I guess like my last blog explained, this journey is unpredictable, but it’s awesome!

Semi-finals came and went, with that the atmosphere in the arena changed. Players seemed to be more tense, but also much more enthusiastic when they won.

I can’t blame them. Considering these games decided who faced off in the gold medal men and women’s games, I would have mixed emotions too.

I commented earlier this week that I wished I could take a slide on the arena ice. Chris and Mike asked the icemaker Mark [Callan] and the dream became a reality.

My curling gear was back in Ottawa, but with some duct tape on my sneaker and a household cleaning broom under my arm, I got to throw some stones up and down the sheet, getting my debut footing on world championship ice.

As an avid curler, this moment was incredibly special. I’m thankful I got to share it with my fellow trainee Emil too because what’s fun with one is twice as much fun with two, especially when you both appreciate how big a deal it is.

Suppertime here at the arena has become something I greatly look forward to each day, and not just because it involves food. Most of the time, Emil, Mariann and I wind up sitting together at a table, and some of the conversations we have are terribly funny.

Recently, Emil and I used Google Translate to start learning Hungarian so we could speak to Mariann in her native language. Personally, I think we have a promising future in Hungarian translation.

Saturday was the big day — World Junior Curling Championships finals. I’ve watched Brier and Worlds finals in person before, but this was my first time to be in the arena for a junior final.

It’s cool to witness the future generation of professional curlers. Maybe someday when they win a senior international event, I can look back and remember conducting their first interview.

Following the final games, Emil and I headed off to the championship banquet to celebrate with the players the fantastic week we all experienced.

I will write about my final remarks from my experience as the Trainee Journalist in my next blog, so please stay tuned!

Would this even be a blog without funny stories?

  1. Mariann, Emil, and I doing some last-minute work in my hotel room and drinking champagne with crackers. Mariann didn’t have a glass so she drank her champagne out of a teacup.
  2. Slipping and sliding at Stolby and getting soaked from all of the snow covering our jeans and filling our boots, then scrambling to get dry and warm before heading to the arena.
  3. Falling asleep on the bus ride to Stolby and waking up upon arrival saying, “wow that was quick!” Then someone replied, “That was over 45 minutes…”


Emil: Day eight – “The Final Stretch”

Our final two days in Krasnoyarsk! After seven days of round-robin play, we now only had the semi-finals and finals left before heading our separate ways back home.

Starting the day off in the snow at Stolby Nature Reserve as previously discussed by Olivia, we went on a several-kilometre trek through the stunning Siberian wilderness. As an Australian who rarely ever sees snow I took full advantage of this opportunity. Sliding our way back down the mountain, numerous snowballs were thrown between Olivia and I plus one at Richard when he wasn’t looking — sorry Richard!

After making it back to the hotel, I quickly defrosted in the shower before heading to the Crystal Ice Arena for the semi-finals. Both the semi-finals and finals provided for some excellent curling action with eight teams from seven countries competing in the final two days.

With only two games happening at any given time I could explore new angles with a reduced risk of missing key moments compared to five simultaneous games during the round-robin play.

© WCF / Emil Cooper

Waking up on the Saturday it was finals day and it was hard to believe that this would be my final full day in Krasnoyarsk.

Much like the semi-finals, these last matches were highly intense with a packed crowd filling the Crystal Ice Arena. Having competed in two World Junior-B Curling Championships where crowds consisted of a few dozen players, the finals here in Krasnoyarsk were a stark contrast with jam-packed stands with thousands of spectators. An amazing sight to say the least.

After the women’s final ended it was time for the medal presentations and closing ceremony, which I can only describe as a spectacular display of lights, smoke, pyrotechnics and live performances. Stage lighting created a difficult photography environment, but this resulted in some extraordinary images.

© WCF / Emil Cooper

With the medals presented and final photos taken, it was now back to the media bench, quickly packing up and heading off to the closing banquet. Live music and performers, mouth-watering food and champagne — that definitely topped our $7 bottle from our visit to the Krasnoyarsk’s Eiffel Tower on day three — were all on offer throughout the night. It was an excellent chance to wind down and soak up my finals hours in Krasnoyarsk.

And of course, some funny stories… well funny story since Olivia seemed to cover all the action in her latest post:

  1. Olivia and I having one last Cinnabon after the banquet at the local mall in our formal dress and suit. Talk about classy fine dining!


Olivia: Final thoughts – “It’s Not Goodbye, it’s ‘See You Later’ “

I can’t believe the time has come to write my final blog post as the Sports Media Trainee Journalist. Months of anticipation and preparation led up to the past ten days, and boy did those days ever fly by. Words cannot express how much gratitude I have for the World Curling Federation for selecting me among candidates from around the world and giving me an experience that has and will continue to change my life.

In the final day of competition, Canada came out on top in both the men’s and women’s gold medal games. As a Canadian, I was very proud of my country and the players and coaches who represented it. Standing at the media bench, watching the flags of the medalling countries rise in front of me, and singing O Canada twice — it was stirring.

Before leaving the Crystal Ice Arena, I made sure to get one last glance at the place where I transformed from a curler who loved writing to a curling journalist.

Where does one begin summarising such a once in a lifetime experience? I don’t think there are words for that. There are two words though that I do need to express: thank you.

Mike, thank you for letting me shadow you this past week and teaching me so much about journalism, from writing reports, conducting interviews, reaching out to national curling federations, and selling my work. I appreciate you sharing your wisdom with me and also supporting me through each task. I will take your advice and “keep the momentum going”.

Chris, thank you for being so great right off the bat when we met in Amsterdam. I learned a lot from you, but also enjoyed the laughs and mutual pokes at both of our silliness (mostly my clumsiness or shyness but who’s keeping track, right?). Thank you as well for pushing me outside of my comfort zone and introducing me to some big names in curling.

Mariann, thank you for always being there to talk to, laugh with, maneuver menus with (haha), and explore Krasnoyarsk with, among other things. Ton bonheur est contagieux.

Richard, our work paths didn’t cross very much, but it was super nice getting to know you.

Kate Caithness, though we only met briefly, thank you for taking the time to share such kind and encouraging words. I will hold your compliments close with me forever.

Emil. Thank you for being a terrific person to share this wild ride with. We’ve made a lot of memories over the past seven days, and you’ll always be one of my great friends regardless of the fact that we live on opposite sides of the world.

In general, thank you to the WCF for having faith in me to become a journalist. I have gained confidence in myself through this journey and I have grown immensely as a person, let alone as a journalist. Aside from the actual experience, getting to meet you all has been an honour. I sincerely hope we meet again someday.

Thank you as well to those of you who have been reading my blogs and reports! Your positive feedback is heartwarming.

Finally, I want to thank my mom (Margaret) and dad (James) for supporting me before, during, and after this experience. There is no way I could have done this without you both.

To future trainees, you’ve got this. Jump in with both feet and eat up every bite of the experience. It’s a lot of work and it goes by quickly, but you’ll be amazed at how impacted you are on the way out.

On our flight from Krasnoyarsk to Moscow Sunday morning, I was a little sad, but Mariann reminded me, “It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later”. In that case, see you later everyone!

Final Funny Stories:

  1. Sitting with Sander Rølvåg at the banquet. I don’t think I can describe what happened, but it may have involved wine and a google image of a famous leader. Advice for future trainees: sit with Sander at the banquet.
  2. Meeting Lori Olsen-Johns and Jeff Hoffart on the flight from Krasnoyarsk to Moscow and realising that they also had just thirty minutes to deboard that plane, get a boarding pass, get through security, and board the next plane to Amsterdam. We had to run through the airport, but with teamwork and luck, we made our flight. What a crazy way to meet huh?

**side note: every single one of my flights home was late upon arrival, so I had to sprint to each connecting flight, barely making them. If it hadn’t been for Lori and Jeff, I probably would not have made it to Amsterdam or Toronto so if they are reading this, thank you both!

Emil: Final thoughts — “What an Adventure!”

© WCF / Richard Gray

It’s incredibly difficult to believe that less than two weeks ago I was almost 11,000km away from home in the middle of Siberia, working my dream job as a sports photographer shooting the sport I love. Being back at university from the day I touched back down in Brisbane has proved to be quite difficult whilst trying to come down from the high of my time overseas.

Attending the World Junior Curling Championships 2020 through the Sports Media Trainee Programme was an extraordinary life changing opportunity and I’m incredibly thankful towards the whole team at the World Curling Federation for offering me the experience. With a keen interest on entering into a career as a sports photographer, this trip strongly reaffirmed my interest in pursuing this profession.

As Olivia previously iterated, it’s extraordinarily difficult to capture how much this event meant to me in only a few hundred words. That being said, I can’t help but thank everyone for making this event so memorable.

Richard, you have been an exceptional mentor and have helped me grow tremendously as a photographer. You’ve helped change the way I not only look at curling, but also how I capture it. Framing, composition, background clutter and editing are just a few of the many things I’ve taken from this tournament as a photographer.

Mariann, thank you ma’am! The unofficial kids table at the cafeteria wouldn’t have been the same without you and I greatly appreciate all your help with the Instagram galleries. Hopefully next time we meet I’ll have perfected my Hungarian.

Chris, thank you for looking after and managing the trainees during the entire trip. It was great to share countless beers and have many insightful discussions with you, from our first night in Krasnoyarsk to our last.

Mike, thank you for sharing all your knowledge, experience and stories about your time with the World Curling Federation. Hope you’re surviving the weather in Perth (Australia not Scotland) compared to the sub-zero conditions in Krasnoyarsk.

Kate, it was an absolute pleasure to not only meet you but to work with yourself for an afternoon visiting the local Krasnoyarsk curling facilities. I really appreciate your warmth and guidance, enabling me to have yet another exciting and unique experience whilst in Russia.

Valeria, thank you for being an amazing attaché. With the whole media team knowing little to no Russian, it was great to have such a friendly person guiding and looking after us during our trip.

Emily, although you weren’t present in Russia your work behind the scenes is greatly appreciated. There were quite a few days where I didn’t think I’d make it to Russia with ongoing visa issues, so thanks for all your help with getting that sorted!

Olivia, where do I even begin. I couldn’t have asked for a better trainee journalist to be stuck with for eleven days in the middle of Siberia. From late night bowling to excursions for Cinnabons and getting stuck in a Russian mall with no way back to our hotel, it was an awesome adventure every step of the way and I’d do it all over again with you in a heartbeat.

And of course there are so many other people to thank for such an amazing event. Umpires, officials, TV crew, volunteers, athletes, coaches and everyone else behind the scenes, without your hard work an event like this would not be possible.

For anyone even remotely interested in the Sports Media Trainee Programme, go for it! The programme is a unique opportunity to gain firsthand experience in the sporting industry and gives you the chance to learn and work alongside an amazing team from across the globe.

Final Funny Stories (V2):

1. Losing track of how many times I fell asleep during my first two lectures back at university thanks to some sleepless flights on the way back home.


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