Day in the Life of an Olympic Flash Quote Reporter

Sport: Women’s and Men’s Hockey
Venue: Shayba Arena
Location: Olympic Park (aka Coastal Cluster)

  • Time to wake up! Jump out of bed, get ready for my shift and proudly put on my uniform. (Each day I felt like I was living a fantasy because the road to becoming a volunteer had many different obstacles.)
  • Exit the barbed wire walled housing complex through the turnstile at the guard shack.
  • Take a brief walk to the bus stop and catch the T3 to the Media Press Center (MPC).
  • Walk across the street to the main security checkpoint, badge-in with my accreditation through the turnstile, get frisked by a female guard, place my bag on the scanning belt, and take a beautiful 30-minute scenic walk to my Workforce tent inside Olympic Park. (There was a quicker route, but it was worth it going the long way.)
  • Check-in at the Workforce tent.
  • Head to the hockey Training Center, badge in with my accreditation through the turnstile, go to our office, check the assignment schedule for the day on the big wipe board, grab an Olympic News Service (ONS) bib and put it on. (Our bibs signified who we were working for to athletes and other media.)
  • Go to Shayba Arena next door, badge in with my accreditation through the turnstile, walk upstairs to the media area, grab print materials like player/team statistics, start lists for the day, etc. from the pigeonhole and return to the office in the Training Center to meet with my co-workers.
  • Attend team practices in the Training Center at rinks HTV1 and/or HTV2. Observe and then run downstairs to the Media Zone at the end of practices to interview select players/coaches. Return to the office and enter my quotes in the Info Content Management System (ICMS) for approximately 17,000 accredited global media to use.
  • Attend games at Shayba Arena, watch from the press section in the stands, take detailed notes on the back of my roster sheets, leave about 10 minutes before the end of each game and head downstairs to the Media Zone to interview my assigned players as they come off the ice. Get help from an interpreter if the player didn’t speak English. Run back to the Training Center and enter my quotes in the ICMS — within a 15-minute deadline.
  • Go to the Workforce Dining Room with my co-workers, hang out and pick at the lunch or dinner “meal”.
  • Return to the office at the end of my shift and turn in my bib.
  • Walk over to Shayba Arena and pick up print copies of my flash quotes from the pigeonhole as a keepsake for myself.
  • Take the beautiful 30-minute scenic walk back to the main security checkpoint, walk to the MPC and catch the T3 bus back to the bus stop in the housing village (OR if it was raining or I was tired, catch the T1 bus back to the MPC and then take the T3 back to the bus stop in the housing village).
  • Walk from the bus stop to the guard shack at my housing complex, show my accreditation, go through the turnstile, stop to get my bag searched, go to my room, change into my street clothes and hang out with my roommates (if they were still at work I would write in my journal or walk around the village).

FLASH QUOTE REPORTERS: I was one of seven flash quote reports assigned to Shayba Arena and the only American, which was a HUGE honor. There were 114 flash quote reporters working at the Sochi Winter Olympics. A flash quote reporter is a member of the Olympic News Service (ONS) who develops questions for the athletes/coaches and interviews them as soon as they exit the field of play. Flash quote reporters perform a crucial role and work with a high degree of speed and accuracy, while striving to gather and publish the most newsworthy quotes for use by the accredited global media.

Open Letter

A BIG thank you to those who take the time to read my blog. I haven’t been posting stories because I have been busy trying to learn basic Russian, studying work materials, getting all my legal docs in order, doing laundry and packing for Sochi. Only 15 more days until I leave to fulfill a childhood dream of reporting for hockey as part of the Olympic workforce team! I carefully contemplated the political controversies and safety concerns, but concluded that if I didn’t follow through on this distinct opportunity I would be tormented by thoughts of regret. Instead, I’m choosing to focus on positive things like the fact that I will be in the presence of athletes from around the world with unwavering spirits who have worked extremely hard to make it to their competitions. I’m grateful to my family in Buffalo and to my friends for supporting my aspirations (especially Alicia, Jane and Jenny who have been my rocks during this long process). I may tweet more than blog while I’m in Sochi — I’m not sure yet. Either way, I hope you continue to follow me and enjoy the adventures and photos I share with you! [My Twitter name is @ga1onthego.]