What happens behind the scenes on a FIS World Cup race day?

FIS Silke Tegethof

Let’s hear it from the Media Coordinator at the FIS.

Media Coordinator, Nordic Combined

Name: Silke Tegethof

Nationality: German but currently living in Switzerland

How long have you worked in your position? And/or at the FIS?

I began working for FIS in summer 2012 and have just started my eighth winter season as the Media Coordinator of Nordic Combined for FIS. In spring 2018, I was added a second role: In the summer months, I am now based at FIS Headquarters in Oberhofen am Thunersee, Switerzland and work as a Communications Coordinator.

In Nordic Combined, I have a really diverse and ever-changing job description: On the one side, I am in charge of all communications for the discipline. I write all articles for the FIS website, I am responsible for the content strategy and execution on the social media channels and other communications like our media releases.

I travel with the Nordic Combined World Cup every weekend. On location, I make sure the working conditions for media are as good as they can be. I manage certain parts of the competition flow, like the leader board in ski jumping or the ceremonies after the end of the competition. I do four interviews for the international TV signal per day and usually host the press conferences after the events. On top of these, there are many small things that need to be organized and I am also a link between athletes, team staff and the FIS when it comes to various administrative tasks during the season.

Silke, tell us about your race day?

A competition day usually starts quite early in Nordic Combined. In general, I get to the venue one hour before the ski jumping trial round is set to start, usually around 8:00/9:00 in the morning.

We have a team meeting every morning and after that, I control all media-relevant areas to see if the conditions are good or if anything has to be organized on short notice. Then I usually go on top of the jumping hill with a camera crew of our host broadcaster to shoot the first interview of the day: checking in with an athlete or a coach on the event to come.

Back at the bottom of the hill, my work area is the so-called “leader board”, the wall with advertising where the leader of the ski jumping round is standing. I make sure everything looks fine and watch some of the trials round to get a first impression of who is in good shape that day. Once the competition starts, I remain at the leader board to make sure the correct athlete is in the picture and close to the media mixed zone to facilitate any exchange of information that is necessary. When we have short notice changes in the schedule due to bad wind conditions, for example, I inform the media and the general public.

Once the jumping round is over, I interview the winner and then run off to the media center to prepare the report about the first part of the competition round, which will later go up on the website and out in a media release. Of course, the intermediate result also needs to be published on social media.

Once I am finished with that, it’s usually time to go back out as I need to be at the cross-country track 30 minutes before the start of the race. I do another short TV interview with one of the favorites and then proceed to control that all-time measurement devices (the so-called transponders) are prepared and given out to the correct athletes. Once the athletes have started, I try to follow the race with one eye (important, as I have to write a report about it later), while answering media questions in the mixed zone and make sure that e.g. no photographers are in wrong positions on the track.

Once the athletes are crossing the finish line, things get really hectic for me. I take a photo of the top three athletes, a TV interview with the winner and make sure the athletes change their clothes as fast as possible. Then we rush to the live TV stations who want to do their own interviews before rushing back to do the winner presentation once the race is over. I make sure the athletes go to the mixed zone to meet the media and take the top three to the press conference, which I host. In between, I have to post the results on social media, so again, one eye on the phone, the other where I am running to.

After the press conference, I can finally focus on writing the competition report, uploading it to the FIS website, sending out the media release and put a photo album with the best shots on the FIS website. If Nordic Combined has any other events besides the World Cup on the same day, I will then proceed to create reports about these as well. I usually finish up about 2 hours after the race end. My day ends in the late afternoon, early evening, usually with a long, hot shower to defrost from spending the biggest part of the day outside in all conditions that winter can throw at you. As I am usually the first person to freeze in any scenario, thanks to Halti for providing us with winter clothing that can keep even me warm!

In general, I work closely together with my three colleagues in the Nordic Combined FIS team: our Race Director Lasse Ottesen, Assistant Race Director Jan Rune Grave and Equipment Controller Guntram Kraus.

Silke, what is the most rememberable moment or incident that has happened in your media coordinator career?

In eight years, I had many extraordinary moments, for example at the Olympic Games or World Championships when the tension is so thick you can almost cut it with a knife!  It is incredibly moving to see people you work with closely achieve their wildest dreams or also fail to deliver what they wanted to. Being around the elite athletes in Nordic Combined is really inspiring, to witness how they take all the highs and lows a sports career brings along.

The most touching, memorable moments for me personally are usually quite small. For example, when I notice that I was able to make the athletes’ or the media representative’s life easier with something. When they feel welcome, relaxed and able to do their respective duties in the best possible way. That is really rewarding.

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