Live from Sochi, it’s NBC Olympics Highlights
March 17, 2014
By Matt Hawkins
When Olympic athletes rose to the world stage February in Sochi, a team of Bradley interns worked in the wings to produce NBC’s TV and Web coverage. Eighteen students worked for NBC, with six on the front line in Russia and 12 at NBC Sports Group’s Stamford, Ct., headquarters.
The students relished the opportunity to learn from the network’s top talent and to rub shoulders with medal-winning athletes. Students Stateside logged events and looked for story angles. Interns in Sochi logged footage from the central media hub, escorted NBC guests and assisted broadcasters at event sites.
The technical experience impressed journalism major Kelly O’Brien ’14, who worked in Stamford.
“I didn't realize when I was watching how many layers go into one video,” she said. “To be part of that is an honor. You don't need to be credited because you know you had a part and helped produce video for NBC. It was definitely an unforgettable experience no matter where you were.”
While working third-shift hours to match the host city’s event schedule, O’Brien focused on video for a number of skiing competitions. Her work headlined the front page of the NBC Olympics website.
Interns’ importance became clear when O’Brien was watching several hours of women’s aerial ski training. Though she thought “nothing worthwhile would happen,” she realized most of the athletes fell on the course.
“Two hours later, there is a montage of falls and B-roll of crews fixing the ramp,” she said. “The whole video was shots I selected. That was the highlight for me. I didn’t get a byline, but it kept me motivated.”
In Sochi, Lee Pikelny ‘14, Jonathan Teich ‘14 and Anna Wilks ‘15 supported operations on the ground, from press row and in the Olympics’ broadcast hub. Perks of the job included opportunities to meet NBC personalities like Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Lester Holt.
Teich assisted San Francisco 49ers radio voice Ted Robinson and former gold medal speed skater Dan Jansen at the speed skating competition. Teich also received an impromptu tutorial from eight-time medalist Apolo Ohno.
“Each job has its own perks,” Teich said. “In the IBC (International Broadcast Center) you would see Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth. I was able to bump elbows with the best and brightest at NBC and develop a relationship with Ted and Dan, who are two of the nicest people I ever met.”
Wilks made contacts with NBC’s clients and marketing partners as a hospitality intern. She and other interns escorted NBC’s guests in and around venues, which put her in the heart of energetic crowds.
“We were never bored, even if we were just standing a couple hours, because there always were things going on,” she said. “I met amazing people and got to experience things I won't ever get to experience.”
Beyond once-in-a-lifetime memories, the interns returned home with valuable career knowledge and professional contacts.
“It opened my eyes and made me realize I could do production as well,” O’Brien said. “By the end, my supervisor said I and the Bradley interns were some of the best he's had. It was a boost of confidence that I can do these skills.”
Teich, who wants to pursue an athletic administration career, realized the NBC operation paralleled his management dreams.
“When I go to be an athletic director, I know every person is a valuable asset,” he said. “The small things that get done right make the big things look cool.”
Despite a barrage of critical headlines before the games, worst-case fears never materialized on the ground.
“They opened up for the world. It was a good experience for Russia,” O’Brien said. “In a way, Bradley was on the stage, not as big, but we were there pulling the curtains.”
Bradley also sent 10 interns to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.
Interns who participated were:
Jake Hermann, Bartonville, Illinois, senior
Brianna Karls, Minnetonka, Minnesota, junior
Lee Pikelny, Chicago, Illinois, senior
Jonathan Teich, Bay City, Michigan, senior
Frank Van Almsick, St. Louis, Missouri, senior
Anna Wilks, Indianapolis, Indiana, junior
Ben Arellano Lombard, Illinois, senior
Daniel Bradley, New Brighton, Minnesota, senior
Tyler Dalsin, Eden Prairie, Minnesota, junior
Tim Lahey, Frankfort, Illinois, senior
Jesse Marczewski, Muskego, Wisconsin, senior
Dominique Moore, Ottawa, Illinois, junior
Christopher Morgan, East St. Louis, Illinois, senior
Kelly O'Brien, Rolling Meadows, Illinois, junior
Laura O'Radnik, Orland Park, Illinois, senior
Spence Siegel, Wilmette, Illinois, junior
Tim van Straten, Chino Hills, California, junior
Lauren Watts, Watseka, Illinois, senior