Sky Sports footballer reporter Geoff Shreeves is confident that both he and Sam Oldham can benefit hugely after he was announced as the gymnast’s mentor last month.
Shreeves is one of 11 Sky Sports personalities carefully selected to be on hand to offer help and guidance to one of the Sky Academy Sports Scholars.
Having been paired with Oldham, Shreeves spoke enthusiastically of the ways in which he aims to help the Olympic bronze medallist but also what he himself hopes to learn.
“I think it’s good that they can talk to someone who they haven’t previously known, who is older than them, is experienced and has worked in the sports world,” he said of the Sports Scholarships mentoring scheme.
“I’ve come across young sports people, obviously mostly footballers with me, who are in different stages of their career that may relate to some other difficulties or indeed good things that Sam is going through as well at the moment.”
For his part, Oldham admits he was delighted to hear that he would have Shreeves as his mentor for a number of reasons.
“When I got the news that I was being paired up with Geoff I was incredibly excited because I’m from such a footballing background,” he revealed. “It’s amazing for me to be paired up with someone who has so much experience in the world of sport, in my favourite sport really. If I wasn’t a gymnast, I’d want to be footballer.
“I’m going to be almost like a sponge and take in all the information he can give me, everything he can teach me. The side of sport that he’s in, that’s something I’m really interested in, getting involved in the media side of sport.
“I’m really looking forward to it, I’m sure he’s got a lot to teach me and I think it’ll be good for him as well getting involved in a sport that he’s not used to so he can see how things work in the gymnastics world as well.”
Having been in communication with Oldham in the lead up to the announcement and since, the touchline reporter is well aware of his mentee’s interest in the media and is keen to show him the inner workings of the industry.
“I can give him a real insight into how the media works, certainly how Sky works,” he added. “From what I’ve seen, Sam is quite good with the media that he has been exposed to anyway.
“Obviously in a window of opportunity, giving him the chance to observe and gain some experience of how the media works, and the different sections of the media as well, would be good.
“It’s not just somebody asking a question and another person answering it, they are a whole raft of careers around it as well. So it will give him an opportunity to explore what the media actually is because there is far more to it than meets the eye.”
As for his own mentors, Shreeves was full of praise of Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler, whose advice and experience he described as “invaluable.”
He will now take on the role of mentor himself and stated his belief that it is a situation that benefits both individuals.
“With a mentor they have to be older, they’ve got experience of life itself and I think it’s hugely important and if both parties give what they have to give then they can gain an enormous amount from it, both sides,” he explained.
“I’m interested in all sports, I’m interested in Sam’s sport and what happens, how he goes about it, what the pitfalls are, the dos and don’ts. So that’s going to be interesting for me as well.”