There's no doubt about it, Kiwis love their sport – and no one loves it more than Sky Sports reporter Kristina Eddy. Just don't ask her to put on her footy boots any time soon!
"I'm so uncoordinated, I don't really play sports," confesses the 27-year-old, who has covered everything from the Commonwealth Games to the Olympics during her career in front of the camera.
From her favourite spot on the sidelines, Kristina is now bringing soccer-mad fans all the exciting news from the FIFA Women's World Cup, currently being hotly contested in both New Zealand and Australia.
"When the Football Ferns walked out to take on Norway at Eden Park, it was massive," enthuses Nelson-born Kristina. "I don't think anyone was quite prepared for it. There's such a buzz about those big event moments. You don't get them that often and especially not on our own doorstep. I get goosebumps just thinking about it."
Now the Football Ferns have been knocked out of the competition, she is backing Australia and Sweden.
When Kristina began working as a sports reporter in 2016 with Newshub Sport, she had one goal. "I used to really want to talk to Usain Bolt. That was like my ultimate dream," she laughs.
Seven years later, she still hasn't met with the Jamaican sprinter, but there have been plenty of exciting moments nonetheless.
Most recently, Kristina was part of the team that won a bronze gong at the Golden Rings Awards, an international competition recognising excellence in TV broadcasting of the Olympics.
"We did this awesome series in the lead-up to the Beijing Winter Olympics," explains Kristina, who shared the award with her colleagues for an eight-minute feature about Olympic freestyle skier Nico Porteous.
"It was really cool that the feature came out so well and we were recognised for it. It was really special."
Although she's found her calling in sports broadcasting, Kristina's career in media began in current affairs when she was 18. Before attending the New Zealand Broadcasting School in Christchurch, she travelled to Ghana on her own to get a feel for whether "journalism was something I wanted to do".
While she witnessed the outbreak of Ebola and also some protests that were happening in the West African nation at the time, Kristina says her most memorable moment was reporting on land scams.
"I couldn't quite get over just how much people can exploit systems if countries don't have the right set-ups," she explains. "The government took us there and was like, 'We want to get the word out that no one should buy any property here because people are pretending to own the land and there's no way you can check if they do or not.'"
Not far from where she was reporting, Kristina recalls, "Criminal guys were building houses and carrying AK-47 guns. They would shoot anyone who figured out they were building these illegal houses and the government was warning people that if you bought a house off one of these scam artists, they are going to come and knock it down.
"I was like, 'Hang on a minute. So we are standing 100 to 200 metres away from these guys who literally kill people who figure out their scams and here we are trying to expose them?' I was hiding behind the tall guys and hoping we would be left alone, and luckily we were. But after five to 10 minutes of filming, we were told to wrap up the cameras and get back in the bus because we would likely be in danger soon.
"You can't comprehend it when you come from a place like New Zealand."
Returning to New Zealand, Kristina knew journalism was what she wanted to do, but her early enthusiasm for current affairs was soon overtaken by sports.
"Now that I've been in sport and I've developed a love for covering the human pursuit stories, I don't know if I could go back," says Kristina.
"I just really enjoy seeing how people achieve at the top level, especially some of the people in the Olympics who train on their own for so long. And I love having the opportunity to talk to some of the incredible athletes.
"We're so lucky in New Zealand that we have athletes that perform so well, and the list of them just keeps growing and growing."
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