This Sunday E:60 (9 a.m. ET, ESPN) will dedicate a full hour to female athletes who are making history in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeonChang. Among those being featured are the women of the Nigerian bobsled team and one of the greatest skiers in the world, Lindsey Vonn.
ESPN reporter Wayne Drehs covered every topic with Vonn from her high-profile relationship with Tiger Woods to her darkest days fighting physical and emotional pain.
“The most important thing is building trust with the athlete, having them understand why you’re asking the questions you’re asking. And just generally spending a lot of time with them,” said Drehs. “I was thankful for this piece that my editors at ESPN the Magazine and the team at E:60 were willing to put the investment behind all the travel it took to spend that much time with Lindsey so we could build that sort of a relationship. And it’s not just me, it’s the producer, the camera crew, the sound technicians. You want her to be comfortable with everyone. And in this case, she was.”
Drehs and the production team literally had to chase Vonn around the globe in order to spend time with her.
“I think what made this different was the challenge of chasing her on different continents, in a sport where you’re at the whim of Mother Nature,” he said. “We flew out to Colorado to shoot a training day and a blizzard rolled in so training was canceled. Then we were supposed to be in Italy for 3-4 days and all of the sudden Vonn packs up and heads to Austria because of weather headed that way.”
Drehs, now in PyeonChang covering the Olympics, said he can’t help but root for Vonn and he’s not the only one.
“When you get to know someone and truly understand their innermost thoughts, fears and motivations you become invested. And by default, in some ways so does your family. While I was reporting the story, my daughter had to write a paper in her fifth grade class about someone who has shown courage in life and on her own she chose Lindsey. I had no idea,” Drehs said. “Although we aren’t supposed to be cheerleaders in this business I’d be lying if I said I don’t want to see Lindsey do well. I’ve seen how much she has poured into this, how much she’s sacrificed. And just as a human you’d like to see someone be rewarded for all that.”