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Keeping the Torch Burning

Written by Sara Webb

IC Students on location in Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics

For the fifth straight Olympics, students from Ithaca College worked at the world’s biggest athletic event. NBC selected 34 interns from the college’s Roy H. Park School of Communications to support the network’s coverage of the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Twenty-five of the students traveled to Sochi, while the remaining nine were based at the NBC Sports facility in Stamford, Connecticut. NBC Sports partners with IC to recruit interns for its Olympics coverage.

Students worked behind the scenes and supported the coverage of the games, drawing on a variety of skills they have developed at Ithaca, and learning new skills that they will draw upon in their future careers.

Putting experience to work

During her time in Sochi, Stephanie Khoury '15 was able to use the production skills that she has acquired as a documentary studies major in the Park School. Khoury said the fundamentals remained the same, even though the production in Sochi was much larger. The director and producer had to manage the production crew to tell the stories of the events, and that reminded her of her own attention to detail when she’s filming.

“In documentaries the storytelling is a narrative of moments, which is exactly how the Olympic Games unfold,” Khoury said. “Often unpredictable, these events have ups and downs that create the drama fueling the storyline.”

Witnessing history

Students in Russia were able to see many of these incredible moments unfold for themselves, like Edward Bohn '15, who was able to attend the half-pipe finals for snowboarding.

“When I watched the snowboarding finals and saw Shaun White compete in person, it really hit me, and I realized, ‘Wow, I am actually at the Winter Olympics, and history is happening right in front of me,’” Bohn said. “That was a memorable moment that I do not think I will ever forget.”

A television-radio major in the Park School of Communications, Bohn worked in NBC’s main broadcast center within the International Broadcast Center, assigned to the central videotape department. Here, Bohn and others were responsible for feeding many parts of video to the control room within NBC located in Sochi that was not being aired live. 

“Due to the nine-hour time difference between Sochi and the East Coast of the United States, all of the network programming for the daytime and primetime shows was taped,” Bohn said. “It was interesting to see all of the work that goes into preparing so much content for air and observing how many people it takes to put together the finished product that all of the viewers back in the United States get to watch.”

Choosing the highlights

There was plenty of action for the students back home too. Michael Powers '15, a television-radio major, was stationed at the NBC Sports facility in Stamford, Connecticut where he worked as a shot selector in the Highlights Factory during the overnight shift, which went from 11 p.m. until 9 a.m. the following morning.

“The difference between the United States and Russia meant that I was working the prime time hours of the games as the events were happening,” Powers said. “Being in Connecticut I worked on various events, essentially working as a pre-producer for the editors for NBCOlympics.com and the Live Extra app.”

Powers was also able to see the remarkable level of collaboration needed to coordinate the production of content between the States and Sochi, and was even able to work with some of the producers to cover a few of the stories.

“Working on a professional broadcast on such an big scale taught me a lot about the broadcasting industry,” Powers said. “Being exposed to the level of communication, organization, and production quality that NBC displayed reaffirmed my aspirations to work in an industry that I am very passionate about.”



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