My Olympic Experience

by

Craig Herrera

 I hope you are enjoying the Olympic Games!  I find myself watching the television so much more these days, and all Olympics!  I love these games as athletes compete for the gold and from the heart after years of hard work.

I think my love for the games started at a young age watching the athletes go for gold, but my real love set in during college.  Before my senior year at the University of New Mexico (UNM), I was very fortunate to be selected as the intern at the Broadcasting Division of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  It was one of the best experiences of my life.  I lived in dorms at the Olympic Training Center, ate with the U.S. athletes, used their training facilities to swim and work out and I met some incredible people along the way!  It was so cool to swim in the pool or to work out in the weight room while tours were happening.  Many of the people on the tour would look into the room to see if they knew any of the athletes, they would see me and ask if I was an Olympic athlete.  I was in no shape to be an athlete, but it was quite a compliment.  J  My roommate however was a great athlete and certainly looked like an Olympian.  Greg was a road cyclist and attended the University of Arizona and he interned with the Sports Medicine Department.  We were two of about 30 interns selected from across the country and the other interns were each in different departments.  We all became very good friends that summer.

My first day at work was so much fun.  My boss, and now good friend, Beth Howard (who now lives and works in New York) was so nice and became such a great inspiration and mentor in my life! Beth put me in charge of writing the media guide for U.S. Diving as we prepared for the U.S. Olympic Festival.  In the 90s we had U.S. Olympic Festivals during off Olympic years so the U.S. athletes could be exposed to a festival that was similar to the actual Olympic Games.  American athletes who were or wanted to become Olympians were selected and divided into four teams, North, South, East and West and they competed against each other for medals.  Each athlete was given a uniform, and went through the same process an athlete would experience before the actual Olympic Games.  

 

After I had the media guide in place, we worked on several short videos of athletes.  My boss liked my work and she made it possible for me to go work with her at the Olympic Festival.  The Olympic Festivals were in different U.S. cities each year and soon I was on my way to St. Louis, Missouri for three weeks of hard work.  We worked on short videos of athletes during an event and showed the video immediately after the event.  It was much like a video you might see after an event now.  For example, after a swimming event you’ll see a short video showing all the highlights of that event all set to music with great sound bites from commentators… that is what we worked on during the U.S. Olympic Festival 1994. 

 

The Olympic Festivals showcased U.S athletes in both winter and summer games.  I met some great athletes like diver Kent Ferguson (1992 Olympian), Greg Louganis (Olympian ’76, ‘80, ’84, ’88).  I also met figure skaters Tara Lipinski (Olympian 1998) and Michelle Kwan (Olympian 1998 and 2002) long before either one made their first Olympic team. 

 

The U.S. Olympic Festival (which is no longer held), the internship and the memories I have from that summer will always have a special place in my heart.  I was also fortunate enough to land my first job out of college with Beth at the USOC-Broadcasting Division upon graduation from UNM.  Soon after I went to Atlanta to see a few of the games in the 1996 Olympiad in Atlanta.  I hope to one day see more games, until then, back to the tube for more of the Games of the XXIX Olympiad!  I hope you enjoy them too!

Craig Herrera
NBC Bay Area WeatherPlus Meteorologist

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2 Responses to “My Olympic Experience”

  1. Steve P. Says:

    Wow!! That’s soooooo cool!! Now THAT’S an internship! hehe. Good job.

  2. Craig Says:

    Thank you sir! It was quite a great experience! Have a great school year!

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