Covering the Olympics: An Asbury Student Perspective – Asbury University
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August 31, 2016

— by Abby Witt ’17

Student posing by Olympic Rings
Abby Witt ’17 was one of more than 60 Asbury students who worked at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

For any incoming freshman at Asbury University who plans to major in Media Communication, the first question that comes to mind is, “How can I be selected to work the Olympic Games?” And if you disagree, you are probably kidding yourself.

Due to the incredible Media Communication faculty and staff, Dr. Jim Owens (dean of the School of Communication Arts) and every single Asbury student who has gone before us and left incredible lasting impressions, students continue to have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity every two years of working the Olympic Games. As I reflect on my time spent in Rio de Janeiro, I am very humbled by the experience in many ways. My eyes have been opened to this whole new world of broadcasting, different cultures, and how fortunate we Asburians are to have people fighting for us to be the best versions of ourselves before we go out into the ‘real world.’ 

Knowing that you are going to be a part of one of the largest broadcasts in the world is very intimidating, but isn’t the excitement that comes with it what live broadcasting is all about? Here at Asbury, from the first day you begin a class — whether it’s Multicam Writing for Media, Radio Production, Media and Society or any Media Communication class — you have started training to become a professional in the workplace. The training you will receive here is what is going to set you apart from every other person who is fighting against you for a job. I learned this first hand in Brazil.

Students working as reporters in front of an Olympic stadium
More than 60 Asbury students earned hands-on media experience at the Olympics. Pictured are Matthew Pertz ’19 and EmaLeigh Haines ’17.

There is not really a way to fully prepare yourself mentally for the reality of working at the Olympics! It’s a dream. But after moving past that, I thought, how am I supposed to measure up to people who have worked more Olympic Games than I’ve been alive through? But all I had to do was trust myself. I quickly saw that every class I have had, every soccer or basketball game I’ve worked, every cable I have over-undered, the many projects I spent late nights editing, the advice my incredible teachers have given me and watching the standard that upperclassmen set is what would prepare me for this opportunity.

One of the coolest aspects of working at the Olympic Games is working alongside people from all over the world. I was a Liaison Officer at the Olympic Golf Course with an American crew, a supervisor from England and co-workers from Portugal and Brazil. I also worked with commentators from Sweden, Finland, China, Japan, Korea, Denmark and Ireland, just to name a few. That is a lot of culture to take in, and a whole lot of names to memorize! But it’s so rewarding learning from just watching these people do their job. We can watch the Olympics from our own homes behind a TV screen, but you can’t fully grasp what it’s all about until you are in the midst of the action.

Upon returning to the U.S. and beginning my final semester at Asbury University, I cannot help but think how fortunate all of us are. There were many conversations with people my age in Brazil from different countries that made me appreciate the resources I have been blessed with here at Asbury to prepare me for the future. The teachers here are second to none. We have been given people who genuinely want us to succeed and will do anything in their power to equip us for our future endeavors. There is not a single word to describe my experience, but I am so thankful to have been given this incredible opportunity.

 

To learn more about Asbury’s Media Communication program, visit: asbury.edu/mediacom.