Junior Phi Emily Collins took the winter quarter off to intern for NBC at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Now that she is safely home on US soil, we decided to catch up with her and learn all about her experience!
Hey phis! I just retuned from 6 weeks in Sochi, Russia working for NBC's TODAY Show as a Runner! Last summer, I got the name of the production manager and emailed her to see if they were still hiring for the Olympics. We did an interview, and a few weeks before fall quarter I found out that I got the job!
While I was there, I worked with a team of 13 other Runners from America, the UK, and Russia. Together, we prepped the offices, set, and compound (green room, hair and makeup, and on air operations) for producer and talent arrivals. Our most important job was being Olympics encyclopedias for the producers - we spent days exploring the mountains and Olympic Park to time distances, driving, walking, and yes, running, in case we had to do guest pickups during the live show. We also familiarized ourselves with venues, Athlete Villages, and all the hotels in the area. During the live show, I was responsible for recruiting audience members from around the Park, as well as bringing guests between the green room and the set. Show time was crazy because there was so much to be done and everything had to be perfect!
There are so many experiences I had at the Olympics that I will never forget. Meeting Joss, Gus, and Nick the day after they swept the podium in freestyle skiing (see left), seeing Meryl Davis and Charlie White skate, hopping in the American bobsled (below), attending an Olympic hockey game, and sitting at the TODAY news desk to name a few. My favorite moment overall was hearing the National Anthem play throughout Olympic Park for Kaitlyn Farrington's medal ceremony. Some of the American Runners and I were walking home from the set and when we heard it, we stopped on the steps of the Bolshoy Ice Dome and sang as loud as we could.
The most difficult part about being in Russia however was the language barrier. Though all of the volunteers spoke English very well, people in the surrounding towns did not. Runners would get sent to town to buy things for the show frequently, so being able to communicate with the locals was very important. Luckily we had Russian Runners who were so helpful and translated on most of our trips!
Being a part of the Olympics was an incredible experience. Other than a little bit of Russian, I also learned a ton about broadcast and about myself while I was there. Everyone with NBC was so nice and willing to answer the many questions I had. As a Communications major, I definitely have a better idea of what I want to do after college and what kind of people I work best with!
Thanks for sharing Emily! We are so glad you had a great time and can’t wait for you to come back to school in the spring! AOE