By Maxime ToussaintMisch Pautsch Switch to French for original article

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The new year is a fitting opportunity to look back on the last twelve months. For the Journal team, this means reflecting on more than 600 published articles and podcasts, as well as at least three times as many conducted interviews. Each team member has selected the contribution that has marked them the most in 2023.

The content isn't finished yet, but it's already my retro. I mean, why not? Content isn't just a finished product. It represents research, information, and especially experiences. It's hours, days, weeks, months… sometimes even a year's work.

Caecilia Riedl has a rare form of achromatopsia, a retinal disability. She's passionate about judo, dreams of participating in the LA 2028 Paralympics, and at 12 years of age, she talked about it during one of the most recent TEDx events in Luxembourg. That night, I was in the audience, and Cilia, as we now call her, planted a seed, which would soon become a podcast idea.

A podcast idea that quickly took shape. We're not waiting for the USA. Next year, it's happening just a 3-hour drive away. In the City of Light, Paris. Of course, Luxembourg athletes want to go, and the sacrifices start now. No brainer: we will follow them on their journey. The highs, the lows. The successes, the disappointments. All through the eyes of Cilia, who will be able to draw inspiration from them when following in their footsteps in 4 years.

I am a content producer though, not a journalist. I needed a team-mate. As usual, Misch Pautsch was immediately on board. I'm often asked why the Journal doesn't cover sports. Well, we do cover sports, but differently. Not the news. Misch's work beyond this podcast – and that of other team members – is proof of that.

I like to say that we cover the "real" sport. You know, the one that unites. The one that's for everyone, inclusive. Where we're all the same. Not the one that divides, corrupted by money. Misch and I realized this quickly. Second day of recording, U15 judo tournament. An early, foggy, cold Sunday morning… The kind of morning where you would do everything to stay in your bed. But the kids and their parents were there, happy to be seeing each other, not even imagining being anywhere else.

"We cover the 'real' sport. You know, the one that unites. The one where we're all the same. Not the one that divides, corrupted by money."

Happy to see us, too. Finally, the media is talking about a sport other than football! We drink coffee with Cilia's parents, her coach, the national team representatives. We're already part of the team. It reminds me of when I was little. We used to meet in front of the local cafe, and when everyone was there, cars would speed off, one after the other, heading to the other end of the country for 90 minutes of running behind a ball in the rain. Half the time, we got thrashed. See you again next week? Of course, it was fun still.

This podcast is also the Journal's first "long-term" podcast: we record for a year and see where it takes us. We take time with people. We talk to them, get to know them for real. Misch asks them what song they listen to in the shower. At the Paralympic Days, we challenge Matteo Scuto and Philippe Hein, two of the four athletes we'll be following along with Katrin Kohl and Joel Adams, at table tennis.

I beat Misch too, by the way. He's not going to like me writing this, but I have to put it out there. "You know the Netflix documentaries where, watching them, you think 'damn, how did they sort and structure so much content and info'?" He knew exactly what I was talking about. "Well, we screwed up. (laughs)" For the moment, we enjoy creating this podcast, we've taken the first turns on a mountain of content we're about to climb.

Even if we're only at the prologue stage, we've already done enough work to make it a retro: concept, contacts, interviews, waking up on weekends… The landscape is still hazy, but we can't wait to see the podcast from above. One thing at a time.

Anyway. This summer, we're off to Paris. Want to come along?