I’m an Olympics nerd. Anyone who’s met me can tell you that. And while the country is consumed with Team USA for the two weeks of the Games, it’s one of my passions all year round.
When I started at NCAA.com, I knew exactly what feature angle I wanted to explore–student-athletes competing in the Olympics. With creative freedom and a lot of support from the editorial team, I reached out to my old colleagues at Team USA and discovered the only student-athletes for Team USA would be six members of the US women’s ice hockey team.
Thus, the Sochi Seven was born.
In November, I started the framework, met with our design team, and after finishing my interviews with the girls in the car on the way to Auburn, sat down to write my stories. Originally, I had planned to write one longform and one short profile on coach Katey Stone. But after talking to the girls, they had given me so many great stories, I was too passionate about them to let them go.
And so one story became six.
My friends and coworkers sat down with me, listened as I read from my notes, deliberated the best stories, and encouraged me to push the envelope and tell the stories that spoke to me.
Thanks to the redesign of our site in October, I was able to build an entire microsite dedicated to the Sochi Seven and their journey, and I couldn’t be more excited about how it turned out.
It’s usually hard to explain why I love sports so much. Yes, trust me, I know the plays, the standings, and the games as well as anyone. And I love them just as much as the next fan. But it’s not the miraculous touchdown passes and record-setting games and unbelievable plays that keep me going.
It’s the people. It’s their passion. It’s telling the stories behind the sport–the fans, the players, the coaches. Why people play the game, how people come together, when sports move people. So people like Lyndsey Fry, who carries around the jersey of her best friend who passed away, speak to me.
And I wanted to be the storyteller.
It’s why I love 24/7. It’s why I love the 30 for 30 series and E:60. It’s why I love documentaries. It’s why I love longform. I might not know a single thing about a given subject, but by the end of a moving piece, you care. Everyone has a story, and being the storyteller lets you share that story with the world.
And the Sochi Seven let me do just that.
Check it out here and let me know what you think!