Olga Viza
25 Jun 2012 0 comments Lídia Penelo

Olga Viza: “Our childhood is our identity card”

Journalist Olga Viza (Barcelona, 1958) has been covering sports since the beginning of her career, which has taken her all over the world. She feels at home on a television set, and isn’t afraid to speak her mind on the microphone. Her honest reporting has earned her many awards. She confesses to be quite a sportswoman and an avid reader of digital media. Oh, and she will tell you where to go in Catalonia if you want to listen.

You wanted to be a doctor, but ended up being a journalist instead. What caused this change of plans?

These things happen. When you are 15 the school system requires you to make up your mind regarding what you want to be when you grow up. In high school I focused on science, but as I enjoyed writing and my grandfather was a man of the Arts, he encouraged me to discover the value of the written word. Also, my friends enrolled in Arts careers, so I kind of followed. I guess it was in my nature, because I remember attacking everybody with a barrage of questions, which often I recorded on a Super 8 film camera. I even created newspapers. I spent many years playing that game so I thought I could keep doing it forever.

How do you keep track of the news?

It depends because I’m a news junkie. Every day I have breakfast glued to the screen with a latte next to me. After that I dive into the printed daily papers. I read all the major papers and, obviously, the sports press.

Sport has been a staple in your career. Does that affect the way you visit places or do tourism?

Covering sports allowed me to travel the world. In some cases I’ve been able to go back as a “civilian” and enjoy them in a different way. Ironically, thanks to journalism I discovered Catalonia. When I was starting out, I was working on a cultural television show that took me to all four corners of Catalonia. I discovered beautiful places like Cardona and Sant Martí d’Empúries.

Besides skiing, do you practice any other sport?

I’m quite sporty. In winter I like to ski. But I have to say I’m proud to have been one of the first ones who signed up for Pilates here. I also enjoy a lot all the sports that require a racket. Especially paddle tennis, which I reviled for years…until I tried it.

Where do go when you have a few days off?

I live in the suburbs. Spend my time between the town of La Garriga and Madrid. On weekends, nothing beats visiting any European city. I love those quick and invigorating escapades.

What is your favorite spot in your hometown?

The Parc Güell, no doubt. I lived in front of it. As a child I thought it was mine. My childhood is Parc Güell, and our childhood is our identity card. I also like very much the old part of town. My grandmother lived in calle del Pi. Those narrow streets always fascinated me.

What places would you recommend to those who are not familiar with Catalonia and want to visit?

Well, this happens to me a lot in Madrid. I help organize my friends’ holidays or the butcher’s or the fish dealer’s, anybody who wants to listen. I tell the same to everybody: Go up north to Cadaqués and then begin a relaxed trip down. Allow yourself to get lost in the Empordà (northeastern corner of Catalonia), but don’t forget to reach Costa Daurada and visit Altafulla and Mont-roig del Camp.

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