Cat Hendrick: Sports Journalist

Most journalists dream of reporting for the Olympics in their lifetime. But Cat Hendrick, being only a second-year journalism student, had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go to the South Korea Winter Olympics this past February. 

Cat was one of two students chosen to travel to South Korea from Feb. 9 through Feb. 25, 2018.  She produced about 25 stories covering most of the snow sports including snowboarding, alpine skiing and freestyle skiing.

"I tell people that it was dumb luck," Cat said. "It was the hardest, but greatest experience of my life.  Every emotion that a person could possibly feel, I felt."

Photo by Vytautas Dranginis on Unsplash.

For three weeks, Hendrick and her colleague Emily Giambalvo traveled to different sports venues, attended press conferences and wrote articles daily.

With the constant pressure of making strict deadlines and arriving to the scheduled sporting venues on time in freezing cold temperatures, Cat found the environment to be a culture shock compared to the humid Georgia she was used to.

"Cat was the hardest worker I had ever met," Giambalvo said.  "We worked really well together in the midst of the chaos. When she would push, I would pull.  I have the utmost respect for her."

The Grady Sports Media Certificate program made this opportunity possible for Cat.  She admitted that the things she learned in class were the only skills she had to hold onto going into the experience.

"I have Grady to thank for everything, because I really didn't have any external experience on writing any kind of sports story," Cat said.  "I just used all of the tools and training that Grady had given me, and I ran with it."

Terrified of not being qualified for the position, Cat was so nervous to accept the opportunity. Her dreams of becoming a sports reporter seemed too hard to achieve. 

After all the doubt and fear of failing, Cat’s experience made her certain she wanted to pursue sports journalism in the future.

Vicki Michealis, professor in the Sports Media Certificate program, made it possible for her to have this opportunity given that she was the lead Olympic reporter for USA Today from 2000 to 2012.

"I am so thankful for Professor Michealis for all the support and help she gave me to make sure I was fully prepared," Cat said.

Her experience made her fearless to chase her dreams. “Even when you doubt your capabilities, there are always going to be opportunities and open doors to sharpen those skills that you have inside of you,” she said.

“I'm so happy I didn't let the fear of not being qualified for this position keep me from going. It was the most rewarding experience and I wouldn't trade it for the world."