Baylor Grad Keeps Tabs On Speed Skating, Golden Moments During Winter OlympicsFeb. 7, 2002
While interning last year with the U.S. Olympic Committee, Baylor University graduate Erika Snoberger asked her boss about the possibility of working the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. The incentive? She already had a place to stay (with her cousin) at no cost to the USOC.
It worked. Eight months later, Snoberger is in Utah and in charge of covering all speed skating events at the world's most visible gathering of athletes.
During the 16-day Winter Olympiad, Snoberger will file a daily diary with Baylor Public Relations, as she experiences the "shining moments" that only the Games can provide.
Her first diary installment will be posted Saturday, Feb. 9, after the Opening Ceremonies on Friday. In the meantime, Snoberger answered some questions from Baylor PR about her Olympic experience...so far.
BAYLOR PR: What did you get your degree in?
ERIKA SNOBERGER: I graduated from Baylor in December 2001 with a BBA in Business-Journalism. Primarily, though, I focused in on sports writing as that is where I would like my career to end up.
BAYLOR PR: Tell us about your internship with the USOC.
ERIKA SNOBERGER: From January through May of 2001, I was an intern in the Internet Marketing department at the United States Olympic Committee. The department is rather small and so I got to do just about everything related to the content and maintenance of the official U.S. Olympic Web site, www.usolympicteam.com. Mainly, however, it was my job to provide original content for the Web site. I wrote one or two athlete feature stories per week for the site. It was so great because I got to interview some really great athletes - Todd Eldredge (figure skater, will compete in SLC), Rulon Gardner (gold medal winner in Sydney in wrestling), Mark Grimmette and Brian Martin (2-man luge, will be in SLC) and Jim Shea Jr. (skeleton in SLC). Mostly, my stories focused on winter athletes in preparation for Salt Lake. I could tell you a million stories about those people and the interesting things you find out when you talk to them. As for my job, I also did a lot with the broadcast department and I was involved in a major redesign of www.usolympicteam.com.
BAYLOR PR: The Olympics are full of memorable moments, not only for the athletes, but also for those who work and watch the Games. What was your most memorable moment from your internship with the USOC?
ERIKA SNOBERGER: It is hard to say...there were too many to name and I think the whole experience was its own memorable moment. The thing I think about now is that in a couple of days, I will be SEEING the same athletes that I lived with, ate meals with and went out with, competing in the Olympic Winter Games! It is so funny because even though I lived at the Olympic Training Center and got to know world-class athletes, they still seem like regular people there. We (the interns) lived on the same floor as the USA Volleyball Team - that was a weird/funny/crazy experience! Anyway, to see these people as sports celebrities on NBC is very different than the way I picture them.
BAYLOR PR: How did you end up working the Winter Olympics?
ERIKA SNOBERGER: It's not a great epic! Basically, I proposed the idea to my boss at the time of my internship, with the incentive being that I would have a place to stay (my cousin lives in Salt Lake City), so the USOC wouldn't have to house me. He took it from there and eight months later, here I am! I am just so thankful to have this opportunity. Not many people can say they've been to an Olympic Winter Games.
BAYLOR PR: What do you most look forward to seeing, doing, experiencing in Salt
ERIKA SNOBERGER: I have no idea! I am sure any and all of my expectations will not compare to what I will get to see, do and experience in reality. I am just waiting to see what will happen!
BAYLOR PR: What are your responsibilities?
ERIKA SNOBERGER: Friday, Feb. 1, was my first day at work, and it was great! I found out that I am in charge of covering all speed skating events. I'll be working primarily at the main media center for the Olympics, which this year is located at the "Salt Palace," Salt Lake City's convention center. My cousin and I drove through some notable places in the city when I first arrived here - I could write a whole diary just on our 30-minute drive!
BAYLOR PR: Do you get to go to events or is it all work?
ERIKA SNOBERGER: I have been told I'll get to see a few events. For some reason, the U.S. News Bureau staff (of which I am a part) got our media credentials upgraded from an "EC" to an "E." I don't know the exact meaning of all that, but what I do know is that with the credential we currently have, we can get into just about any venue for any event. I believe the only major place to which we don't have free access is the Olympic Village (where all the athletes stay).