When I was first told I was going to Brazil, I didn’t know what to expect. I was going to a place that, depending on what you read, had Zika, security woes, violence, pollution, body parts on the beach, and weird pizza.
I had the great fortune of covering para-cycling, the first ever para-triathlon, boccia, table tennis and goalball at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.
I think, for me personally, having gotten to speak to some of the most talented athletes in the world, that was a huge leap forward in my future career.
It only took me one day to realize it. Brazilians are some of the biggest fans I have ever witnessed.
The 2016 Paralympics have offered me a window into the beauty that can be created when people coalesce in support of a common cause. Decked primarily in Seleção soccer jerseys, the locals have supported their athletes with a vigour and song loud enough to shake your soul.
I find that I’m running out of synonyms for “incredible” and “inspirational”. There is no other way to describe the surreal-ness of being given the opportunity to be at a Games. Especially the Paralympics.
The Rio Paralympic Games have been nothing short of incredible. It is an opportunity that as a journalism student, I could’ve never imagined. Although there are too many amazing moments and stories to list, one particular event stands out in my mind as I reflect on my time at the Games.
As an athlete, I always believed I would be in Rio in 2016, but one frustrating injury after another got in the way. Now, standing in the Olympic stadium as a journalist, it is clear my Rio 2016 dream has been realized.
I’ve learned a lot about myself as a journalist, and as a person, throughout my time in Rio.
Before our trip to the Rio Games I thought I knew what it was like to be a journalist, but really I had just scratched the surface. Working a major international event is a completely different ball game.