IC students test their abilities and stamina in one of the most demanding internships ever — working in media at the Torino Winter Games — and turn in championship performances.
Ten thousand members of the media covered the competition among 2,633 athletes from 84 countries during the 17 days of the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy.
December 15, 9:57 p.m.
So this is it. I have been selected to work with NBC at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. I am flying out Jan. 28 to begin what I am continuously told will be a life-changing adventure.
I have been a fan of figure skating for as long as I can remember. [I was a dancer for] nearly 15 years, the closest thing I felt I had to an Olympic sport. The year Tara Lipinski won Olympic gold was the year I became addicted to the sport, and that love has continued ever since.
When I was in seventh grade I decided I was going to persue a career in journalism. It was that year that I also planned my lifetime goal: Along with meeting Tara Lipinski, I would one day report at the Olympics. I never imagined I would be traveling to the Olympics at 19! I still aspire to return to the Games one day as a reporter representing a network or publication. This is a pretty good start.
January 25, 3:36 a.m. [a few days before leaving for Torino]
I have been assigned to figure skating! If experiencing the Olympics weren’t exciting enough, I will now get to work for a full month with figure skaters, journalists, commentators, etc. Although it is still unclear what exactly I will be doing, anything skating-related is a dream job in my book.
February 12, 1:18 a.m.
I am currently sitting in the production truck for Olympic Ice, the one-hour original skating programming that will be shown at 6 p.m. every night on USA back home. I am the show’s logger, which means I record all the tapes that we shoot or dub them into a listing to give to the media library.
At times I forget the games are going on, since I’m usually in the edit suite or in the production truck logging the show. ESPN.com or nbcolympics.com is usually my source for finding out what is happening. I normally work about 12 hours or so, attempt to socialize afterwards if I’m not tired, and then head home to get in at least four to five hours of sleep. Then the process repeats itself.
February 12, 8:48 a.m.
February 12, 3:00 a.m.
Although my work schedule prevents me from going to any actual events, I have gotten to meet USA gold medalists Chad Hedrick and Shaun White, as well as silver medalist Danny Kass.
Well, I should get back to work. But remember: When you watch Primetime Olympics and see white papers on Mr. Costas’s desk, it was probably me who put them there!
February 17, 6:54 a.m.
During the hockey games, three other runners and I rotate positions. One day someone will be helping out in the commentators’ booth. The next day someone will be stationed in the studio. We also help out in both of the control rooms: One is for the pregame, postgame, and intermission reports; the other is for the actual game. We get so wrapped up in hockey that we often forget that other events are going on each day.
We were asked to help out with the opening ceremonies. I helped out the cameramen and reporters in the staging area where the athletes were stationed before they walked in the Parade of Nations. Spectators were given little flashlights and white ponchos so the arena could appear to change colors. One of my favorite parts was when the people formed an eagle while scaling the giant wall. Seeing the torch ignite gave me goose bumps.
The people we are working with come from all over the world. This experience is definitely once in a lifetime, but I hope these Olympics will not be my last!
February 18, 4:39 a.m.
The show is going very well and apparently it has been getting amazing reviews. There’s a piece that’s airing today that has Jamie Salé and David Pelletier driving a zamboni. Should be a hoot to watch. Yesterday I got to meet Evan Lysacek when he came to visit the show. He is such a down-to-earth, fun guy. I managed to get a photo with him and speak to him a little as well. On my way to the IBC to pick up tapes, I saw Apolo Ohno heading into practice so I said “hello” to him. As I was waiting to head back home, Chris Carter (Minnesota Vikings receiver), his wife, and friend got out and said “hello.” So, pretty cool day.
Wednesday, I got out of work early so I headed downtown to explore. I was lucky enough to see the German pairs skaters Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy and get a picture with them.
I can't believe it’s day 7 of the Olympics. Where has the time gone? But never fear, I’m going to make the best out of the last week or so that I’m here.
February 20, 2:00 p.m.
I am still meeting many new people each day, and often I will bump into someone and find that they have a connection to IC, whether they are alumni themselves or have family enrolled there. I have also met many other interns. There are so many well-rounded people here from other colleges, and it has been a pleasure to get to know them and their different walks of life.
I am working for the primetime segments, so we go to air much later in the day. My shift is from 6:00 p.m. to 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. to correspond with the time difference in the US. I have managed to do a lot of fun things during the day and attend midday competitions. I almost prefer it this way. The last competition I went to was the men’s snowboard cross. It was the debut for this sport in the winter Olympics so it was great to witness the first competition and to see all the athletes.
My favorite perk of getting to work for the primetime segments is meeting all the athletes who come in to do interviews. The second perk is probably the food—I have yet to have a bad meal in Italy.
The motto for these Olympics can be seen on flags on almost all the street corners in downtown Torino: “Passion Lives Here.” Each night the medals are given to athletes at the Medal Plaza. This past weekend the plaza drew thousands of people to watch fireworks and wave the Italian flag. It was officially declared a “Notte Bianco,” a big celebration where bars, restaurants, and clubs stay open until sunrise. The following day, Sunday, Italy won the cross country relay, and it was again declared a Notte Bianco. I later saw on TV a man on stage at the medals ceremony yelling, “What is passion?” A man yelled back: “Standing outside in the freezing cold, and still having so much fun!”
I’d say passion truly does live here.
February 21, 11:00 p.m.
Watching speed skating on TV is one thing, but watching these athletes in person fly around the rink with grace and speed was breathtaking, and I have a new appreciation for the sport.
Chad Hedrick’s family was seated near my section, and I was able to meet Chad before his race. The whole family was very friendly, and Chad willingly signed autographs for fans and posed for numerous pictures. Throughout these games, I have noticed how gracious and friendly the athletes have been towards their fans.
Most nights at Primetime we have the American medal winners from the day come in to the studio to talk with Mr. Costas. The athletes are happy to talk with members of the crew, and seem truly appreciative when congratulated. These medal winners truly embody the Olympic spirit, and are role models for many young athletes everywhere.
With only a few more days to go, I am still having the time of my life, and I will be sad to see the flame extinguished on Sunday night.
February 25, 10:21 p.m.
Being at the cross country venue has also revived my love for the sport. In the span of two weeks I have seen a banned Austrian coach end up in a mental hospital after he was spotted and caught making a run for the border. I also saw the Italian relay team win an event they had placed second in at the previous two Olympics by a combined total of less than one tenth of a second, as well as an incredible comeback from a Norwegian who tripped and fell at the starting line but came back to pass nearly 80 people over the course of the race to win a silver medal.
February 26, 1:11 p.m.
Aside from the sheer thrill of being at the games, these two weeks have been educational, exciting, tiring, hectic, and 100 percent worthwhile! Working on Primetime I have met many great people, both crew and staff, who have each taught me something about this crazy business I will be entering into. I am grateful to the staff here at NBC for providing me and my fellow interns with the opportunity to be part of something so magical and important. As a self-proclaimed Olympic geek, I experienced the games in a totally different way.
I am sad to see the torch go dark, and I would have loved to see the Olympics stretch on. But all good things must end. I hope that in 893 days I am watching the opening ceremonies of the Beijing summer Olympics, whether as a spectator or a member of the media.