It’s not only the athletes who have travelled through time zones for Innsbruck 2012, Alan Harris has journeyed from the sunny climes of Barbados to the snowy Tyrolean capital to cover the first Winter Youth Olympic Games in his role as a Young Reporter.
Buzzing with the prospect of reporting on his second YOG – Alan was part of the IOC Young Reporters’ Programme at the first Summer Youth Olympic Games in Singapore – we grabbed some time with him before the first deadlines started looming…
Q: You have left sunny Barbados for snowy Innsbruck – how are you coping with the cold?
A: “All things considered, not too bad actually. Obviously, when I left the Caribbean I was expecting some cold weather - and a little snow - in Austria. Both played true. However, two - or five, if we're being entirely truthful - layers of winter clothing seems to be working for me and my usually warm West Indian blood. Also, admonishing the fear of being overly sentimental, being greeted - and now surrounded - by the 'winter wonderland' that is Innsbruck has warmed my heart. I just hope it lasts!”
Q: What are your first impressions of Innsbruck and how the city/people are preparing for the YOG?
A: “Ever seen a postcard of Innsbruck? You probably have, but if not, take it from someone who normally detests any weather near freezing: pictures do it no justice; the real deal is infinitely times better! The people, food and culture are incredibly unique, and for a Caribbean lad, it is something that has never been seen or experienced before. As far as preparations for the Games go, everything is already in full swing. Against the backdrop of extensive Innsbruck 2012 signage, brightly clad athletes and officials are beginning to populate the normally quiet city streets. The locals also seem to be excited and are keen to share their expectations of the 1st Winter YOG with anyone who asks. Of course, it helps if you brush up on your German!”
Q: What story/event are you most looking forward to covering?
A: “Truth be told, all of them! I know, it’s the epitome of a cliché answer, but it’s the truth. As a Young Reporter, I'm in a privileged position and I'm hoping to produce as much content as is possible while at the same time reaching the widest audience. But if I had to choose one event, it would have to be the Short Track. I think the speed, elegance and precision involved is unsurpassed by any other winter discipline. But I'm hoping to be proved wrong.”
Q: What has been your proudest moment as a journalist so far?
A: “Easily my proudest moment as a journalist - and probably in my life - was winning the first-ever Steve Parry award for the most outstanding Young Reporter at the Singapore YOG. For more than 25 years, Steve Parry was the chief sports editor at Reuters, one of the world's largest and most respected news agencies. Unfortunately, Steve passed away just one day before the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, so it was an absolute honour not only to receive an award in his name, but to be also recognized by the International Olympic Committee for my work in Singapore. Receiving the award not only made me proud, but it also gave me the impetus to pursue my dream of becoming one of the world's best sports journalists.”