As a freelance sports writer, covering various sports events comes with the job. However, being from the United Kingdom, much of my time is focused on football, tennis, cricket and rugby.
Every four years an event will come along, like the 2018 Winter Olympics, which gives me the chance to cover several sports I rarely watch such as ski jumping, speed skating, curling and skeleton.
From my perspective, these are sports which exist just once every four years.
However, having watched the final of the women’s 500-metre short track speed skating at the 2018 Winter Olympics, an interview after the race opened my eyes as to what these athletes are going through.
There was British interest in this race, with Elise Christie being tipped as a potential gold medal winner. Unfortunately, her hand was clipped by another skater’s blade and this was enough to send her sliding towards the protective barriers.
This was not the first time Christie has tasted disappointment at the Winter Olympics having been disqualified from each of her three races in Sochi four years ago.
In her interview following the final, Christie spoke about how hard she worked over the past four years to win this race and tears started to stream down her face. It was then I began to think about the individual athletes at the Winter Olympics.
Stewart Laing, the performance director for British short-track speed skating, said: “We have brought our sports psychologist out and we have had this planned just in case.”
This speaks volumes for the preparation which has been done ahead of the Winter Olympics and all for just one athlete. It had me thinking about what other Winter Olympic athletes have done to get this far.
Seun Adigun is a great example and she started Nigeria’s first ever bobsled team using a crowdfunding website. She will be Africa’s first bobsled team driver in the history of the Winter Olympics.
One of the most famous athletes at the 2018 games is Lindsey Vonn but the alpine skier has battled back from several severe injuries to her knee, arm, and back. Yet the 33-year-old will be racing in Pyeongchang.
Then there’s the Korean women’s ice hockey team, featuring players from both South and North Korea. This is the first unified Korean team for any sport at the Olympics, so just imagine what it must be like for the athletes involved.
These are just some of the athlete’s stories at the 2018 Winter Olympics and a little bit of background reading on the people taking part, shines a whole new perspective on their achievements.
Check out VPN Guru’s guide to how to watch the 2018 Winter Olympics.