Surprise, excitement and dreams: AIPS Sport Media Awards finalists and their moment of glory

  • January 16, 2019

Vincent Riemersma’s Skating Shadows is a Top Three finalist in the Photography - Sport Action category of the inaugural AIPS Sport Media Awards

Chibuogwu Nnadiegbulam, AIPS Young Reporter, Nigeria

LAUSANNE, January 16, 2019 - Beyond showcasing, promoting and appreciating sport media excellence from across the world, the inaugural edition of the AIPS Sport Media Awards has indeed impacted lives through its stages.

The emotions the top three finalists expressed after receiving the great news of their nomination, are an attestation to a fulfilling journey which included hours of dedication and deliberation from the 24-member AIPS Executive Committee and the international 12-member AIPS Sport Media Awards jury.

PHOTOGRAPHY - PORTFOLIO Xinhua News Agency’s Xu Liu is yet to find the right words to describe how he truly feels. He had received the email at 11pm.

“I was in deep sleep at that time,” he said. “I woke up and gave a quick glance at the email. Then I thought I must be dreaming. ‘There isn’t any possibility for me to be among the finalists.’ So I fell asleep again. The next morning I read the email again and found out that it wasn’t a dream. It was true. What a big surprise!”

Xu Liu was not the only one who needed a second look at the email to be convinced. Patrick Kraemer of Magicpbk, her fellow finalist in the Photography (Portfolio) category enthused: “I feel happy and very honored that I am among the top three in the world. I had to sit down and read the message a second time to make sure it was not a dream. And then I paused for a moment to enjoy the moment when I was allowed to harvest the fruits of my hard work. I am very grateful that the universe - or let's call it destiny - gave me the opportunity to shoot these great pictures.”

Adam Pretty (Getty Images), who completes the top three in the Photography (Portfolio) category, added: I was extremely excited and honoured to be named in the top three as having seen the top 20 list and there was an amazing list of sports photographers included, so to make it to the final was a really nice surprise.”

PHOTOGRAPHY - SPORT ACTION Since making the top ten, Norbert Schmidt could not stop thinking if there was room for him in Lausanne. “Also there were many German colleagues in the Top 20 so I was proud to be the “last German standing” in the Top 3.” While Vincent Riemersma from the Netherlands simply said: “I felt a great honor and joy to be in the final three.”

VIDEO - ATHLETE PROFILE The French trio of Anthony Audureau, Pierre Esquer and Thomas Larabi, revealed that reaching the Top 20 was already a big enough surprise for them, “So when we found out that we were in the final three, the surprise was even bigger. It was really unexpected for us. We were so happy. It was hard to believe that we have been invited to the Awards ceremony in Lausanne,” they added.

Olympic Channel’s Diego Hurtado De Mendoza, Gregg Groggel and Peter Berg said: “Being selected amongst the top three films in our category has been an extremely rewarding way to wrap this project. It reminded us of the many lessons on commitment, determination and hard work that we learned from the Cuban Olympic champions portrayed in our film. Our entire crew embraced that ethos, and worked as hard as they could to tell this story right. This professional recognition belongs to them.”

Emanuela Audisio of 3D Produzioni (Italy), the only nominee with two submissions in the final, said she felt “True happiness” when she found out that she was in the final three. She likened it to crossing the finish line and not knowing who the winner is “but you surely know that you are among the best”. She added: We are all glad to have reached the audience and to show that athletes are the ones that always come first but us, the journalists, we have a duty too: to find the word or the ways to translate sport emotions to the world.”

VIDEO – DOCUMENTARY Audisio also has an entry in the final of the Video (Documentary), where she is up against Dan Goldberg and He Zhu.

Goldberg said: “We at Mint Pictures were thrilled to be nominated for THE HAKA. We loved making the documentary and The Haka is so well-known and well-loved around the world by so many…but so few actually know the real story behind The Haka, so it was a privilege to tell it and thanks to Discovery for commissioning it.”

AUDIO Aaron Kearney expressed shock when he found out he had reached the final three, but he was particularly “thrilled that the voices of the pioneering Papua New Guinean women featured in my piece are being further amplified on a global stage.”

Dario Ricci said he felt very “surprised and excited, while Pirmin Styrnol and Jürgen Schmidt added: It‘s a very big honour. Especially because of the big amount of quality in the competition. We are very glad to be part of it.”

WRITING - BEST COLOUR PIECE Christof Gertsch, Mikael Krogerus felt “a mixture of excitement and disbelief with a dash of pride.”

José Ignacio Pérez Hernández said he was “very happy” to be among the finalists. “Being among the ten chosen was already a great achievement, but going on to the next level, in other words, being among the final three candidates, makes me very proud,” he enthused.

WRITING - BEST COLUMN For Dumitru Graur who describes himself as an “old commentator”, “It was a very nice feeling, a sensation of accomplishment and confirmation. I knew from the beginning that I have quite a chance with my piece of work, because the article was written direct from my heart, full of a real emotion. But the moment of confirmation was still full of joy and made me proud.”

Igor Rabiner said: “I guess, every ambitious professional in any sphere of life would have shouted "Wow!" in this kind of situation. It happened in Riga, charming capital of Latvia, where I spent New Year holidays. It was the best possible beginning of 2019 for me. There was no Oscar in sports journalism before this year, and it's an amazing feeling to get to the final stage in its inaugural season. I'm proud to be almost 30 years in my beloved profession, I've won a number of national journalistic awards, I published 20 books, each of them were big accomplishments for me. But as soon as you learn that you are in Top Three of the all-world competition in the dedication of your life... It's like you reach semifinal of the FIFA World Cup! It's already superb - but now you want even more! As Russian proverb says, "appetite comes with eating". So, my wife, who comes to Lausanne with me, wants me to be number one!”

JOURNALISTIC WEBLOG Nick Butler felt “very pleased and surprised”, but had a little part of him feeling sad as well and he explained that it is “because, having now left insidethegames, I no longer do blogs on a weekly basis in the same way!” He added: “It is also great that people think sports politics and the negative side of sport is a valid and important subject to write about as it is something very important to me.”

Ubaldo Scanagatta saw it as a crowning moment not just for the work itself but also for his website. “I was proud and happy. First year of the AIPS Awards and immediately, Top 3. I was particularly happy because I have the feeling - who knows if right or wrong - that somehow this award was not just fully attributed only to the story I wrote about the US Open Finals, the unexpected win by Naomi Osaka over Serena Williams with all the outbursts that followed, but also because I was able to build up a website which has a considerable success (12 million visits per year for a sport which is not football) and help a lot of young men and women to learn about journalism and become professionals.”

Due to the fierce competition oozing from the 1273 inspiring submissions, arriving at the top three finalists across eight categories was in no way an easy task.

The winners of the Awards will be announced at a glittering ceremony to be held at the Beau-Rivage Hotel on January 21 and all finalists will be present.


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