Olympics 2006: Insider’s report

Jason Parmer is a 2003 media communication graduate and is now associate director of communications/ video & multimedia in the public relations office at the College. He visited many of the media communications students in Italy Feb. 9-16. He worked the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

At the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, 28 Asbury College students have a new perspective on what it means to “watch the game.” They have been hired as professionals to work at the largest sports broadcast in the world—and they’re loving it.

Because of Professor of Media Communication Jim Owens’ connection with the host broadcaster of the Games, Asbury College is the only college or university in the United States sending students to work in Torino.

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Torino

I had the chance to visit our students on the job and get an insider’s report about what it’s like to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

If you’ve watched any of the Alpine Skiing events, you’ve probably seen James ‘07, a junior media communication major from Atlanta. Because of the relationship he formed with his supervisor at the venue, “JD” is now on top of the mountain at the start gates, determining who can place cameras where. Consequently, he’s high-fived with dozens of athletes and coaches seconds before they skied the course. Aside from having to ski daily to his position on the mountain, JD has also gotten to ski the men’s downhill course, which he says is “the scariest thing I have ever done.”

Aside from their more-than-fulltime jobs broadcasting the Olympics, a few of our students have also landed a job as guest correspondents for the Atlanta-based radio station, WGKA. Heather ’06, Andrew ’07, and Jeremy ’06 are producing 60-second updates for the station daily.

WGKA isn’t the only station interested in our students. Erica ’06, an intern for WKYT in Lexington has called in for on-air reports as well and WLEX aired a package highlighting the students trip.

In addition to an amazing experience, our students are also making great contacts for after they graduate. Junior Matt from Cape Coral, Fla., wants to pursue graphic design after graduation. With his position at CBC Sports [Canadian Broadcasting Corporation], he works daily with a freelance designer who is teaching him a lot of inside information about design for television, print and web.

Trying to get their 15 minutes of fame, Jeremy and Todd ’07 met Katie Couric, host of NBC’s Today show and of course, got a photo with her as well.

This is a great opportunity for our students. It is amazing to see how their persistence and dedication have earned them the opportunity to return to the Games again and again. Many students are working 12+ hour days with few days off, freezing on the top of a mountain, but are doing it with a smile. They say they’re living their dreams.

Several students and alumni have returned for their second or third time working the Games. Scott Irwin ’02 is working his third Olympic Games, and Matt Holmes ’03 is working his second.

For more information at Asburians at the Olympics, check out their online journals.

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