Nfld. & Labrador

N.L. photographer shooting Pyeongchang Games is grandson of early Olympian

A sports photographer from Newfoundland is taking part in his fifth trip to the Olympics.

Jonathan Hayward decided to first pick up a camera after seeing grandfather carry torch to '88 Olympics

Jonathan Hayward is a wire photographer with the Canadian Press who is shooting his fifth Olympic games this year in Pyeongchang. (Submitted by Jonathan Hayward)

When it comes to Newfoundlanders participating in the Olympics, names like Team Gushue and Kaetlyn Osmond might immediately come to mind.

There's another person from the province taking part in his fifth Olympic Games — but Jonathan Hayward isn't an athlete. He's a professional sports photographer.

Hayward, originally from Portugal Cove, has been working with the Canadian Press as a wire photographer for 12 years.

He's won several prestigious awards, such as the 2014 Sports Media Canada Award for Outstanding Sports Photography following the Sochi Olympics.

Canada's Olivier Rochon flies through the air during the men's freestyle ski aerials final at Phoenix Snow Park during the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. (Jonathan Hayward/ The Canadian Press)

This year, Hayward is covering mountain events in Pyeongchang, such as ski cross, slope style and moguls, with a focus on Canadian athletes.

"We really don't care about anything else, but luckily for us during this Olympics the Canadians are doing phenomenal," he told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show by phone from South Korea.

"To watch a Canadian win a gold Olympic medal and you're right there, capturing it, it's pretty awesome."

Noah Bowman of Canada competes in the men's halfpipe ski final at the 2018 Winter Olympics. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

Calling this year's Olympics his favourite so far, Hayward said he has developed his skills over the years and is now more patient and better able to pace himself to get the perfect shot than he was during previous games.

He said it's not easy work, sometimes punching 15 hour days in –29 degree temperatures, but it's a thrill to be one of only nine CP staff wire photographers in Canada who travel around the world to events like the Olympics.

Brady Leman of Canada celebrates his gold medal in the men's ski cross at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea (Jonthan Hayward/The Canadian press)

"We're just running on pure adrenalin right now. It's very much like being an athlete; the only difference is we've got 21 days to compete," he joked.

"We do a lot of mountain events, so it means I have to walk into position with a 50-pound backpack. But this one has been awesome. I'm in more of a groove than I was in the past."

Ferd Hayward takes part in a parade in downtown St. John's, before heading to the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki to compete as a race walker. (Submitted by Hayward family)

Hayward's decision to become a professional news photographer started back in 1988, when his grandfather, Ferd Hayward, was among the first people to help carry the Olympic torch to Calgary for that year's games.

"I made up my mind that day I was going to be a wire photographer," Hayward said.

Ferd Hayward was one of the first Olympians from Newfoundland and Labrador, having competed in the race walking event at the 1952 games in Helsinki. He also won the race -walking world championships that same year.

Ferd Hayward and figure skater Barbara Ann Scott carry the Olympic torch down Signal Hill in St. John's in 1988, the first leg of the torch run to Calgary for that year's Games. (CBC)

His grandfather's experience meant the Olympics always loomed large in Hayward's family, and he said there was always a focus on healthy living and sports.

"It was a lot of inspiration as his grandson to see [that was] something that could happen," he said.

With files from the St. John's Morning Show