Friday, May 21, 2010

Take Advantage and Enjoy

Karl Riecken

Intern, USA Swimming National Team Performance Support

I know that back in November of last year, I had no idea I would be writing this the next May. I applied for this internship on a whim and never thought once about how this could possibly be such a life-altering experience. There is no way that I may express to you reading this entry just how much of a sea change I have seen in my life over the last five months. So seemingly inconsequential in terms of time, but lasting the influence will be.

I do write this blog entry on the last day of my internship, which gives me a perspective wrought with hindsight. With USA Swimming, the opportunities to gain experience and network were endless. Though most of my time was spent working on a variety of projects to assist National Team coaches and athletes, I had ample chances to meet those same people for whom I worked. I thereby became more than simply a temporary worker, but a conduit for reliable and pertinent sport performance information.

Even the uninteresting parts of my experience are not to be classified as such at all. My most boring days are filled with closely watching video taken from each recent Olympiad and major competition for USA Swimming athletes. I had constant access to what the best have done for decades. What made those athletes so great was displayed in front of me and I was able to rewind and watch again as much as I saw fit, able to parse through the details of hand entry, breathing angle, hip position, ankle flexion, etc. Having that legacy in that detail before me offered me something quite unique.

Perchance those who have gotten to know me through this internship will roll their eyes with jaded disinterest when I speak of the outdoors in the loving way in which I do. Born in Albuquerque, yet hailing from Florida, I never realized how much I missed the desert until I found myself out here again. I feel at home with the mountains surrounding me and the rocks and sand below my feet. Nearly every weekend was filled with hiking, climbing, mountain and road biking, swimming, trail running, and of course eating. If you ever need a recommendation on a place to please your pallet, I will be glad to give you direction. I am positive I would have made it out here to find this part of my life again, but I was unsure as to when. I have USA Swimming and the USOC to thank for that.

So there you have it: three-quarters advertisement for the USOC Internship Program, one-quarter advertisement for the outdoors.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A whirlwind learning experience

As I am finishing up my second internship with the U.S. Olympic Committee, and reflecting on it all, I am amazed by how much I have had the opportunity to be involved in, the great people I have met, and the invaluable learning I have gained! Having recently graduated with a master’s degree in Sport Management, this internship is ideal for me for multiple reasons. As the intern for the Human Resources division, I have had the chance to work with several departments within the USOC and obtain a broad view of all that goes on at the organization. I have had the chance to help with recruiting new employees, learned interview techniques, assisted with a few programs put on by USA Paralympics, edited content of a couple of key manuals for USOC employees, and From a personal development perspective, it has been helpful to be exposed to many career areas and narrow down where my passions lie.

Colorado Springs has a lot to offer, from beautiful outdoor activity options to a city rich with sport and fitness, it is a great place to intern! Some of what I’ve been able to do recently, in no particular order, includes:

· Act as Volunteer coordinator for the Developing Amazing Leaders Conference, reaching an audience of people involved in Military and Paralympic Sport clubs across the United States. This experience was huge for on-the-job learning. I was given the task of recruiting, training, and managing a group of almost fifty volunteers during the conference. I needed to ensure they were at the right places, at the right times, and had the resources to fulfill their volunteer position(s). I enjoyed working with the volunteers, staff, and participants, and was exposed to an amazing amount of knowledge regarding adaptive sport programs.

· Climb the Manitou Springs Incline for about the 10th time. 1 mile straight up in 2,000 ft…we all talk about it because it’s quite a doozy! Athletes have been known to complete the challenge in times under twenty minutes, while I am just happy to make it in less than an hour each time!

· Volunteer for the inaugural Warrior Games, which offers sport competition for wounded servicemen and women. This is a truly amazing event! Check it out at

· Snowshoe for the first time! It’s a great workout, and a wonderful way to traipse around in beautiful Colorado.

· Help with the planning and execution of the Paralympic Ambassador Program, working with a consulting company to train Paralympians on being effective at telling their stories in front of various audiences. We traveled to the beautiful training center in Chula Vista, California, and facilitated this event. We also had the opportunity to go out on the water with the US Men’s Rowing Team and strengthen our knowledge of ultimate teamwork! As a former rower at the University of California at Los Angeles, this was pretty cool!
· Get the ball rolling on production of a training manual for those at the USOC who supervise interns. I scheduled informal interviews/brainstorming discussions with several key USOC leaders to talk to them about what need a supervisor manual could fill. We discussed what information would be great to have readily available, and talked over what techniques they found effective in managing interns and providing a comprehensive development experience for them. It was eye-opening talking to team members from several departments, and picking their brains to see how the Human Resources department and Intern Program Manager can facilitate effective practices.

I thoroughly enjoyed my internships with the USOC, in the Human Resources and Development divisions, and have volumes to speak of the experience. It is truly a unique and privileged opportunity to be part of this Movement, and I am grateful to my supervisors, co-workers, fellow interns, and others I’ve encountered along the way for supporting me in learning on the go!
Britt Merchant
Human Resources Intern
Spring 2010

Friday, May 7, 2010

An Amazing Semester

Hi all!

My name is Kaitlyn Comiskey, and I am the intern for the National Wheelchair Basketball Association. I work at our National Office, which is located near Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. This semester has been absolutely amazing, and I have gained more experience in the field of Sport Administration than I ever could have imagined.

When I first got here in early January, the office was in the process of preparing for both the NWBA All-Star Game, as well as our National Tournament. The All-Star Game was at the beginning of February, and was in conjunction with the NBA All-Star Game. My two supervisors, Cody (our other intern), and myself had the opportunity to fly down to Dallas to help put on the All-Star Game. This consisted of transporting our athletes to and from the airport, hotel, and gym, and making sure that the game and clinic ran smoothly. It was a three day trip, and was literally nonstop. We had the opportunity to work with some awesome NBA employees, as well as meet Mark Cuban. The NWBA All-Star Game went very smoothly, and even with the foot of snow that Dallas received that same night, all of our players managed to make their flights out of Dallas that following day.

This past April, we held our 62nd Annual NWBA Championships. It is a National Tournament with 89 teams competing in it. The tournament was held in Denver, and four different playing sites were utilized. It was so awesome to be able to see everything that goes on behind the scenes of putting such a large tournament together. Before coming out here, I was a volleyball player for Bradley University, and competed in many tournaments. I had no idea how much hard work goes into putting on a tournament. From getting host hotels, transportation, gym time, scheduling the brackets, and getting all 89 teams registered, it is such a huge comittment. The tournament was five days long, and it was nonstop work. In the end, it was so rewarding to see the tournament go smoothly, and to see both kids and adults alike with smiles on their faces at the end of the day.

Outside of my internship, I have definitely taken advantage of this beautiful state. I went skiing multiple times this winter, and have done tons of hiking. I've also been to a few Denver Nuggets, Colorado Rockies, and Colorado Avalanche Games. All have a been a blast! Every weekend there's been something new and exciting to do; there is literally never a dull moment. Not only am I pumped that I got to live in such a beautiful city, but it is rewarding to know that this internship has helped me to grow so much as a person. I had the opportunity to work with some amazing people these past few months, who have taught me so much, and given me confidence that I have what it takes to eventually have a full-time career in the Sports Administration field.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

2 weeks to go :(

Andrea Hull
Project Management Intern

Hey All!

This has been an absolutely amazing internship, and I'm definitely bummed it's wrapping up.
<--80's Kickball with the interns (I'm on the L, Megan Coffey on the R)

I serve as the intern to the director of the training site, and I've gotten to work on a couple of cool projects that I'll highlight below.

1)Insurance Cataloging - Back in December there was a pipeline break and one of the resident dorms flooded. I spent from January to early April collecting and inventorying damged items, replacing items (shopping woohoo!), and making sure the athletes were being honest when replacing their items.

2)Sports Management Seminar - ~20 graduate students are coming in 1 1/2 weeks for a 5 day seminar. I've been in charge of getting speakers, deciding the schedule, booking meeting and gym space, and figuring out out of class activites to do. We'll be using sport as an avenue to teach business principles so we'll be playing wheel chair basketball, water polo, doing yoga, and running the incline; we'll also be holding a mock press conference to learn strategies for talking to the media.

3) Athlete Events - With one of the dorm supervisors, I'm in charge of planning weekly athlete events for the resident athletes to participate in. Our big one is coming up on Thursday. We're holding an 80's prom for athletes and camps on site. A couple athletes on site have missed HS Prom because they chose to train here and we wanted to throw a fun event for them.

Out of work I've had a lot of fun learning how to ski (CO mountains are way better than Wisconsin hills), going on a brewery tour in Fort Collins (check out the New Belgium tour...if you're at least 21) going to sports games (nuggets and sky sox), and exploring Denver and Colorado Springs. There's always something going on, so take every opportunity that comes your way, whether it's volunteering, going on trips with fellow interns, or going out on your own to places that have been recommeneded.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Star-struck Maybe?

Hey everyone!

My name is Marion Steinberg and I am the Coaching Education intern in Colorado Springs. I absolutely love my job here, and the springs is a fantastic place to live. My favorite part of the day is getting ready in the morning and walking outside to see the sun shining on snow-capped mountains & Pikes Peak!

The Coaching Education department is responsible for providing coaches, athletes, and high performance directors with reliable information on training, coaching, ethics, etc. We work with the other Sport Performance Departments (physiology, technology, nutrition, psychology) to put valuable resources up on, and we also manage another website- Additionally, our department hosts a variety of conferences throughout the year.

My favorite part of my internship so far has been working to put together the 2010 Training Design Symposium, which was held at the OTC last weekend. It was extremely exciting to meet so many accomplished coaches and executives! I even got to meet author Dan Coyle, who wrote Hardball: A Season in the Projects (Keanu Reaves movie!), Lance Armstrong's War, and The Talent Code.

Other notable coaches in attendance were Guy Baker- who is pretty much the greatest Water Polo coach of the era, Hugh McCutcheon- who coached the U.S. Men's Volleyball team to a Gold medal in Beijing, and Carol Callan- who was Director of the U.S. Women's Basketball Team that has achieved Gold medals in the past four Olympics!

I also got a chance to go out to dinner downtown with Mike Chu, Mike Anthony, and Nicholas Gill- who are all high performance coaches and managers for the New Zealand All Blacks! We got to share stories about life in Australia & New Zealand (I studied abroad there)- and I learned so much about sport just talking with them for a couple hours.

I felt like I was in the hollywood of sports for three days, it was an awesome experience!

Outside of work I have had the opportunity to really explore Colorado Springs and the outdoors.

Some of the things I've done include...

Learning Judo & Fencing with the other interns:

(me and my roommate Kaitlyn)

Going skiing at Monarch mountain:

(Taylor and Me at the very very very top of Monarch- 11,000+ ft!)

Going to a Colorado Avalanche game:

Climbing up the Incline!!
(basically a giant makeshift staircase going up a mountain)

Overall my time here has been absolutely fantastic. I feel so lucky to have gotten the opportunity to gain relevant work skills, build my network, and explore Colorado.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hey everyone. My name is Alex Setoodeh and I am a media relations at the OTC in Colorado Springs. I am originally from Bethesda, MD which is a suburb of Washington, DC and I am currently finishing up grad school at Georgetown University. I did my undergrad at Northeastern University in Boston.

I am loving Colorado and can't believe my internship is over half way done. It has been pretty crazy here since I arrived in January. During the games I was in the office 7 days a week and every other day I was there until about midnight working on the Daily Wrapup. Now that the games are over and we have finally moved into the new headquarters, things have calmed down a bit. My basic duties are composing and formatting the Olympic Sports Scene every week, responding to fan mail, scheduling and escorting around on site media, writing athlete bios, working with my boss on Team for Tomorrow projects and appearances, and I recently wrote my first feature article for the new online version of Olympic Beat magazine. Overall, I have gotten a lot of great experience so far.

Outside of work, I have met a lot of amazing people. The intern class this semester is an awesome group and I have made some great friends. The intern group has done a lot of fun things out here, and we are definitely taking advantage of our surroundings. We have the Intern Olympic Games every week, where we learn and compete in a different sport. Currently my team is in first place, and hopefully we will stay there! Now that baseball season is going on I have been to two Sky Sox *(the Rockies triple-a team) games and I know the entire intern group is attending one in May, a few of us also went to an Avalanche game a few weeks ago. I have also gone snowboarding a bunch of times while here. I bought a season pass before I came out and I just learned that A-basin will be open till mid June so there is still plenty of time left to go! I have two friends coming into town this weekend, and next weekend I am off to Vegas so it should be a pretty crazy few weeks.

I will be enjoying my time with the other interns for the next five weeks before they all leave, my internship lasts a month longer than theirs which is sad because I don't want to see anyone go. This experience has been incredible and I have learned so much that will help me in the future.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Welcoming the World to Colorado Springs!

Hi everybody!

My name is Lauren Magliola and I work at U.S. Figure Skating as the Event Intern for the ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships 2010, which took place right here in Colorado Springs last week!

Synchronized skating is the youngest of the five disciplines in figure skating (ladies, mens, pairs, dance, and synchro) and the World Championships is highest level competition in the sport. As a former synchronized skater for Miami University (the one in Ohio, not Florida - Go 'Hawks!), it has been incredible to be involved in the planning side of this event, which I never got to see as a competitor.

Team USA Competing at Worlds in Colorado!

I've been in Colorado Springs preparing for the Championships since September. Some of my jobs have included communicating with competing teams and federations, taking ticket orders and answering questions from spectators, helping organize hotel rooms and meals for competitors and officials, and helping plan off-ice events like the Opening Draw Ceremony and the totally awesome Competitors' Party (which included DDR and Rock Band played on GIANT screens). Teams from 18 different countries began arriving over a week ahead of the competition (to get used to the altitude) which led to a whole extra set of logistics to deal with while helping groups of 20+ maneuver around an unfamiliar city in a foreign country.

Once the competition began, I was on call pretty much 24 hours a day to help teams with any difficulties or questions they might have, all with the goal of making their stay in Colorado Springs as easy as possible so that skaters could focus on their performance. I got to meet coaches and team managers who I had been communicating with over e-mail for months from places like Sweden, Finland, South Africa, Croatia, Australia, Germany, and Hungary. I was able to sit and watch the entire competition, which included some of the highest level skating I have ever seen at a World Championships, and had the honor of being the person in charge of getting the correct flags ready for awards (including the stars and stripes!) as soon as the final scores were posted.

Although my last few weeks have been pretty much consumed by work, I've had countless amazing experiences in Colorado since September. I've learned to fence and play team handball as a part of the Intern Olympics, seen Jason Mraz live at the incredible Red Rocks Amphitheater, seen Darius Rucker at the not quite as incredible (but still fun!) Colorado State Fair, and of course gotten out and hiked some of the great trails found all around Colorado Springs. On the weekend, you'll most likely find me running around Garden of the Gods or Red Rock Open Space, and I have managed to get myself up the Incline once (I swear I'll get up there again soon!). My next goal is to make it to the top of Pikes Peak, but I don't really have to worry about following through with that promise until the snow melts, of course.

As I look back on the last year, I can't believe how many great people I've met and how much I've learned while in Colorado Springs! It's definitely been a once in a life time adventure, and I know I'll be using the knowledge and experience I've gained here long after my internship has ended.