«The Olympic atmosphere has been really cool»


Danielle's camera in the Olympic ice rink. / Credits: Danielle Earl Photography

Two Jura Synchro photographers have spent the last three weeks in South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Find out what they did in PyeongChang with this interview conducted a few days ago! 

Can you introduce yourself to the Jura Synchro readers...

Sean McKinnon: My name is Sean McKinnon and I am a Software Engineer in the Broadcast Industry. My hobby, my passion, and my part-time business is photography, primarily Figure Skating and Synchronized Skating photography.  I have been involved with Synchronized Skating for over 10 years, as a Synchro dad, volunteer, and club photographer.  My daughter was a member of the 2014 Silver medal and 2015 World Champion NEXXICE Senior Synchronized Skating teams. I volunteered as Public Relations Coordinator and Event Photographer for Skate Ontario for 3 years. Now I am freelance, shooting club galas and shows, as well as a photo correspondent for Jura Synchro.

Danielle Earl: Hi I’m Danielle Earl. I’m 25 years old from Waterloo, ON. I am a full-time figure skating photographer and I love my cats and the colour purple.

What is your activity in the 2018 Winter Olympics?

Danielle Earl: I’m photographing figure skating at PyeongChang 2018 for a website called Golden Skate. Basically I spent my whole time here watching and photographing skating and then editing photos!

Sean McKinnon: I am working as Communications Support for NBC. My company provides the broadcast intercom system used by NBC (and many other broadcasters, including host broadcaster OBS), and I am part of the team that writes the software that makes it all work.  While at the Olympics, my role is to help operate the system, connecting venues with the control rooms so that they can produce what you see on TV.  This is my 11th Olympic games (summer and winter) going back to Atlanta 1996. I have three Sports Emmy awards for being part of NBC's Technical Team - Studio (for Athens 2004, Vancouver 2010, and London 2012).


Sean at his place of work in PyeongChang. / Credits: Sean McKinnon

How is the atmosphere?

Sean McKinnon: This has been a great Olympic experience. The cities and venues are clean and the people are very friendly.  The volunteers are extremely well organized, the media village is well equipped (everything works, unlike Sochi!), and the buses have been running on schedule.  My work shift is 9 pm to 9 am (overnight) so I mostly sleep during the day, although I have had relatively little sleep (about 5.5 hours per night) so that I can spend some daylight hours visiting venues and checking out events.  I have been able to attend Luge, Ski Jumping, Biathlon, Curling, and Men's and Women's Hockey games so far. NBC has also given me a ticket to go see the Ice Dance short programs, and am very excited, as I have previously photographed many of the top teams at Canadian Nationals and Skate Canada International.

Danielle Earl: The Olympic atmosphere has been really cool. It’s awesome to be living and working with media members from all over the world. Everyone gets so into the Games and it’s fun to see the Olympic spirit be carried throughout the media village as well even though we are all very busy getting our work done!

What has been the most impressive for you in the 2018 Winter Olympics?

Sean McKinnon: Watching Canada win the Team Event in Figure Skating was pretty cool (even though we all know that the REAL team event should be Synchronized Skating)! I was thrilled for Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot in the Pairs event, as well as Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, of course.  Nathan Chen's free program was absolutely phenomenal! Outside of Figure Skating, watching the Millennial's make their mark (with the first Olympians born in the 2000's winning gold medals here in Snowboarding) was amazing!  And a world champion snowboarder winning the women's Super-G on borrowed skis was incredible!

Danielle Earl: The quality of the skating has been the most impressive here. There were so many fantastic performances that it’s hard to pick just one moment!

The best moment?

Danielle Earl: For me, the best moment was watching Team Canada in Figure Skating win GOLD!

Sean McKinnon: Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir winning the gold in the Ice Dance! :) One day I got to meet Canada's first ever medalist in Slopestyle Skiing, so that was pretty good.  Also, finding my way into the Opening Ceremonies stadium and making my way up to see the Olympic Cauldron and flame up close was great. I've been taking a lot of selfies wearing my OneTeamMVMT T-shirt to help promote Synchronized Skating in the Olympics.


Sean McKinnon, wearing the OneTeamMVMT T-Shirt, in front of the Olympic Flame. / Credits: Sean McKinnon