We’re sending two reporters to Sochi

We’re excited to announce some good news: Thanks to some excellent partners, this newspaper will send a second reporter to the Caucasus Mountains next February to cover the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

That reporter will be one many of you know well – Senior Sports Writer Lou Reuter, who has already covered two Winter Olympics and won many awards, largely for photography, in his 18 years working here.

Lou will join our other sports writer, Mike Lynch, in covering the many local athletes we expect to compete in Sochi. But Lou will have another major task: He is charged with covering Olympians from all over New York, on behalf of newspapers statewide.

That’s because most of his travel expenses are coming from the New York Press Association, which represents hundreds of papers around the state – mostly weeklies. Enterprise and Lake Placid News Publisher Catherine Moore, a foundation board member of NYPA, made the proposal last Thursday, and the board overwhelmingly voted to commit funds from its foundation. The deal is that the reporter will cover NYPA member papers’ local Olympians as well as those from the Adirondacks. When we find out who those athletes are, we will work with those papers’ editors to plan coverage.

This is new territory for the NYPA but also is consistent with the kind of cooperative teamwork that its members have been talking about for years. We are grateful and proud that the association’s members decided to invest in our papers’ Olympic coverage.

They’ll get their money’s worth in terms of quality. You may remember Lou’s Olympic reports, photos and columns from Salt Lake City in 2002 and Vancouver in 2010. And while most sportswriters are unfamiliar with the intricacies of luge and freestyle skiing, Mike and Lou cover them regularly here in Lake Placid. A big part of telling the story of the Olympics is explaining to readers how sports like bobsledding and biathlon work.

Another big part is covering the athletes’ family members and friends who show up to cheer them on. As for the local Olympians, we know those people – many of them very well. As for those from around the state, we’ll make sure to connect with them.

Many weekly newspapers can’t afford to subscribe to news and photo wire services like the Associated Press, and besides, there’s no guarantee the AP would cover their hometown athletes if they don’t win medals. Just being an Olympian is a monumental accomplishment, and each one’s neighbors want to see, read about and celebrate him or her, whether the final result is gold or 80th place.

People up here understand that pride in hometown Olympians, yet many also take it for granted. Few large U.S. cities can boast of more than one or two Winter Olympians, but in 2010, there were 12 who either grew up in or had settled full-time in Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Vermontville and Paul Smiths – plus many more who live or had lived in Lake Placid to train. It can be easy, living here, to fail to appreciate how rare that is. Yet people do appreciate it, as evidenced by the crowded welcome-home parades held in Lake Placid and Saranac Lake in 2010.

While Lou will cover Olympians hailing from Long Island to his original hometown of Buffalo, including our local competitors, Mike will focus on those from the Adirondacks. That’s because, as we mentioned in February, his travel expenses come from a local source – the Charles B. Decker Memorial Scholarship, named for a former Enterprise editor.

So we again say “SPAH-see-boh” (Russian for “thank you”) to everyone involved with the Decker Scholarship, and we also thank the U.S. Olympic Committee for granting our request for two photojournalist credentials to cover the games. And now we are thrilled to thank the New York Press Association. With these partners, we can be the best source of Winter Olympic journalism for you and people like you all around New York.