Every Olympic year, the U.S. Olympic Committee holds Media Summit, an event where media from around the world can hear from all of the top American athletes in one place. (Photo: Sarah Brunson/USSA)
PARK CITY, Utah (Oct. 3) - Ever wonder where those heartfelt Olympic athlete interviews that flood the television during every Games come from? Every Olympic year, the U.S. Olympic Committee schedules a Media Summit, an event where media from around the world can hear from all of the top American athletes in one place. This year, the event was held in Park City.
“I think it’s very fitting having a Media Summit in Park City—it’s such a winter wonderland,” freestyle moguls athlete Pat Deneen said, “It’s a really great opportunity for us to share our stories. That’s been really fun.”
In addition to interviews, media also had the opportunity to attend demonstration events for several different sports. Nordic combined athletes Taylor and Bryan Fletcher were on hand at the USSA Center of Excellence in Park City to demonstrate cross country skiing to dozens of media outlets.
“I haven’t experienced anything like this before,” Taylor Fletcher said, “It’s fun to get your image and name out there to everyone who’s going to cover the Olympics. Every chance I have to get out there and share my story and our team’s goals is a good opportunity.”
For the athletes, it was about more that talking to reporters and camera crews. It was also an opportunity to come together as Team USA. Figure skaters, bobsledders, skiers, snowboarders and more were able to meet and make friends in different sports.
“We get to see a lot of our friends from different sports here,” cross country skier Andy Newell said, “It’s fun because we don’t see each other that much. It’s fun to bring the team together.”
Despite the busy schedule, though, the athletes still had time for a little fun.
“My favorite part was the comedian Pete Holmes,” ski jumper Lindsey Van said, “We got to just joke around and laugh.”
And while some of the athletes may have lacked certain skills for portions of the event, they still had a good time.
“I thought that the singing part was going to be really, really painful,” snowboarder Justin Reiter said, “And I’m sure for the people that actually have to end up hearing my voice, it will be painful, but shooting it was awesome. It was super fun.”
The Media Summit was an opportunity to showcase some of the athletes’ talents off of the slopes, as well. During a session with NBC, the teams got a chance to show off their singing voices.
“Andy Newell is the best singer on the cross country team,” cross country skier Liz Stephen said, “He actually just recorded his first CD. He’s amazing at guitar and singing and sings us all to sleep sometimes if we’re lucky.”
“[Singing] was a pretty interesting way to start off the morning!” alpine skier Alice McKennis said, “I’d say Laurenne [Ross] has the best voice on our team.”
Ultimately, though, the Media Summit was an excellent way for athletes to balance the demands of the media in an Olympic year with their intense training schedules.
“In a small period of time, I can meet with so many media and get a lot of things done,” snowboarder Chas Guldemond said, “That’s really important for me so that, moving forward, I can focus on my training.”