U of R journalism grad living his Olympic dream

By Costa Maragos Posted: February 9, 2018 6:00 a.m.

CBC Olympics reporter Devin Heroux at the Gangneung Curling Centre where he’s following Team Canada’s curling teams.
CBC Olympics reporter Devin Heroux at the Gangneung Curling Centre where he’s following Team Canada’s curling teams. Photo courtesy of Devin Heroux

Follow Devin Heroux on Twitter and you quickly discover his knack for bringing curling to life.

Heroux, a 2012 graduate of the U of R’s School of Journalism, is now in Pyeongchang, South Korea, as a member of the CBC team covering the Winter Olympics. His first assignment is covering Team Canada’s curling teams, where they’ve hit the ice even before the opening ceremonies.

When it comes to curling coverage we encourage you to follow Heroux, who has that ability to bring the colour and drama of the roaring game to his thousands of followers in 140 characters or fewer.

Heroux, who is originally from Saskatoon, took a break from his busy schedule to chat with us about the Olympics and his U of R memories.

What has your Olympic experience been like for you so far?

Those Olympics Rings. What a moment it was to land in Seoul and arrive at the Media Village shortly after and see the Olympic Rings. I was in awe. What a moment.

There was so much anticipation and excitement leading into this experience and since I’ve arrived it’s lived up to the hype. I spent the entire second day walking to all of the venues. Many of them were empty and so I just sat there, in the stands alone, soaking it all in. Now it’s about to get real. Let the Games begin.

You grew up watching the Olympics. Now you're covering the games for a major network. What does that mean to you?

I’ll never forget the 1998 Nagano Olympics. That was the first time I really paid any attention to the Olympics. I would stay up all night watching Canada’s athletes compete on CBC. There was one night Canada was playing a hockey game and they scored a late goal to tie the game. I ran upstairs into my parent’s room and woke up everyone in the house with my celebrating.

I’ll also never forget being in a hotel in Humboldt watching Sandra Schmirler’s Saskatchewan rink win gold for Canada. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.

In a lot of ways being here, 20 years after first watching my first Olympics on CBC, and now working the Olympics for CBC is a dream come true.

Devin Heroux
Hanging around with some of his CBC colleagues covering the Winter Olympics. (L-r) Bruce Rainnie, Heather Hiscox, Devin Heroux and Colleen Jones.

No surprise you love curling. You are a Saskatchewan guy after all. However, you have seemingly become the 'go-to' guy for curling coverage on social media. What accounts for that you think?

It’s been a remarkable curling journey across Canada this past year. It started with CBC Sports sending me to cover the Scotties, Brier and World Championship. When tweeting, I’ve only ever wanted to make the audience feel as though they are at the event with me — so when I showed up at that first bonspiel, the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, that’s exactly what I did. I tweeted play-by-play curling shots in a very conversational way. People went wild over it.

And it really took off from there. At the Brier in St. John’s my tweets were flying faster than curling takeouts. Before I knew it, I was branded as the curling guy and it’s something I don’t mind one bit.

I am so proud of my Saskatchewan roots. As mentioned, watching Sandra Schmirler and her team win gold was a defining moment for me. It made me take up the sport of curling and now has me covering the sport. Even better, I’m working alongside Joan McCusker from Regina, who was second on the Schmirler team.  She’s now a CBC curling commentator. It’s hard to imagine that when I was watching McCusker win gold at the Olympics when I was 11 years old that I’d be working with her at the Olympics 20 years later.

What influence has your U of R School of Journalism experience had on your career?

My experience at the U of R School of Journalism has been immensely beneficial to my career. The tools I was provided at the School have allowed me to be a better storyteller on so many levels.

I learned so many important lessons about being a great journalist in those classrooms and during the many assignments we were given. Perhaps, more importantly, the School of Journalism allowed me to find my authentic voice. And as I continue in my career it’s become abundantly clear that being authentic and genuine in this profession is what will lead to success.

The professors allowed me to be everything I am and that has allowed me to flourish.

What advice do you have for journalism students as they ponder a career in the business?

My advice for journalism students would be to embrace all that they are and find their voice. In so many ways storytelling is about being able to connect and it’s my belief the only way we’re fully able to do this is be being our most authentic selves. I recall early in my career I was trying to be that stereotypical news reporter, or at least what I thought it to be. It got in the way of my ability to connect on a deeper level with the people I was telling stories about.

When I was finally able to get real and vulnerable with people, my interviews were so much more enriching. This isn’t rocket science. It’s about finding the humanity in everything and everyone you talk to. If journalism students can learn that early it will serve them well.

What more would you care to add about your Olympic experience?

As I continue to cover not only the Olympics but also stay in South Korea to cover the Paralympics I’m thinking back home to Saskatchewan and all of the people who have helped me get to this point.

I am so proud to be from our prairie province and feel grateful to have this opportunity. There is no question when I step into these venues I think of the many people who have believed in me. 

Devin Heroux is the CBC’s curling correspondent on digital and social media at the Winter Olympics. He will also cover other sports including speed skating and figure skating.
Follow Devin on Twitter @devin_heroux.