By Chris Lotsbom ’13
Arriving on the premises well in advance on my first job of the day — a USA Track and Field press conference — I took a bit of time to walk around and see the major venues in the surrounding area. Strolling through Olympic Park was like walking through a museum: so many things capture your attention you don’t know where to look first.
I started by heading towards the main Olympic Stadium [pictured left], which I had been looking forward to seeing for months. En route were very beautiful views of the other stadiums — the Velodrome, Aquatics Centre, Water Polo Arena, BMX Track and Basketball Arena. But the Olympic Stadium took the cake. It’s stunning how big the stadium is. I can’t wait to go inside in the coming days!
The style and architecture of the venues looks really cool on television — and that much better in person. The intricate designs leave one amazed at the thought of how they were built. Take Riverbank Arena [pictured left], the field hockey venue, for example. From the outside, the stadium looks like a million steel pipes weaving in and out to form a beautiful skeleton.
From the main path I could also see the athletes’ village [pictured left], distinguished with flags of the residents inside. Non-athlete sites that were cool to see were the Coca-Cola Beatbox (a giant red musical instrument for fans) and Olympic Orbit, which is a looping red tower next to the Olympic Stadium.
Of course, I didn’t come to London to site see (though it is fun!); I came to work and cover track and field. Starting at the International Broadcast Centre (IBC), I began to find my way around the enormous work area. One of the neat things about the IBC is seeing all the world wide broadcasting partners come together, from Korea, South Africa, Germany, America, and all the nations in between. A large building of wings and hallways, the IBC brings television networks from across the globe into one large workspace.
The Main Press centre is similar to the IBC in the way that it gathers print and web journalists as well as photographers, providing more work space and stadium seated lecture halls for large press conferences.
Today, USA Track and Field held their first press conference with three athletes favored to medal: two-time gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross; World Champion high jumper Jesse Williams; and newly-crowned world record decathlete Ashton Eaton. After an hour conference, I wrote an article on Eaton for Race Results Weekly describing his experience with the 1500m, the final event of the ten discipline competition.
After getting a training lesson preparing me for my television work with NBC, I walked around the halls of the IBC to get familiar with the facility, stopping at the commissary (a large and delicious dining hall) with a few friends. The commissary is complete with a Starbucks and sandwich shop inside. One part that is cool about the IBC is the sports personalities you see in the halls or sitting down for a bite to eat. Among those I saw briefly today were Brian Williams (NBC Nightly News), Jimmy Roberts and Bob Costas; a few fellow interns saw Dan Patrick, Shaun White and Nastia Liukin roaming around.
I ended the day on a perfect note, going for an hour evening run along the River Thames, which was lit up all along the riverway. Running across Tower Bridge (like they do in the London Marathon) has always been on my bucket list and now it is checked off!
One thing I have to say is how nice and accommodating the host citizens of London are. Whether giving out directions or volunteering to snap a photo of you, the Great Britons are always lending a hand. Smiles never come off their faces, and they always have a positive persona, ending many conversations with “have a nice day” or “cheers!”
Tomorrow I begin orientation at the IBC, and I hope to attend another USA Track and Field press conference.
Til then, Cheers!