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Olympic Dreams

Written by Erin Dunphy '13

Erin Dunphy '13 (far right) in London at the 2012 Olympic Games

This past summer I got to fulfill my own Olympic dreams when I interned at the 2012 Olympic Games. Growing up as the daughter of a multi-sport coach, I have always loved sports, even though my own athletic prowess was limited.

I remember watching the Olympics when I was younger and wishing that there was one sport I’d be great enough in so I could compete in the Olympics. That day never came but I fell in love with producing live sporting events and decided that would be my ticket to the Games.

I went to the Olympic Games this past summer as a little cog in a big machine. I was one of more than 30 Ithaca College students interning with NBC. NBC has the biggest space in the International Broadcast Center (IBC), which also includes networks from other countries. I met journalists from around the globe. For the first time since my senior year of high school I dusted off my French skills to speak with a French journalist about how much we were enjoying the Games.

I was lucky enough to be placed right where I wanted to be: track and field. I’m not a runner myself, but I can’t get enough of those events. On the first day of the track and field events, I took a trip inside the Olympic Stadium—before it was even ready for competition! I got to see workers putting the finishing touches on the track and filling in the sand pits. That was when it hit me. I was really at the Olympic Games. I was close enough to the Olympic Torch to feel its heat.

The rest of my time went by as fast as the sprinters. I worked as an operator for the Interplay Director, a system that communicates between what is being shot on camera and the editing system. I sent clips from warm ups, races, and reactions to be put in different segments of the broadcast. This was an amazing and invaluable learning experience for me. My career aspiration is to produce features and I would especially love to do it at live sporting events. This internship allowed me to sharpen my skills of determining which shots to select and matching feelings and facial expressions of the athletes with music and visuals. When I saw the venue recap piece with all the clips I had picked out I was so excited and proud.

I was even able to watch the events from the Olympic Stadium. I saw Usain Bolt break an Olympic record in the 100 meters and a world record in the 4x100meter relay. I got to see Jamaica take first, second, and third in the 200 meters. I heard the stadium break out into “God Save the Queen” and “All You Need is Love” for British runners Jessica Ennis and Mo Farrah. I didn’t watch those moments on television, I lived them.

Interning at the Olympics is one of those experiences that I’ll still be telling people about when I’m an old woman. It was more than I could have ever imagined. I came away from it with great memories and I made some fantastic friends along the way.



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