London Log-In - August 3, 2012
UCLA athletes, coaches, alumni and staff share their experiences at the 2012 Olympics. UCLA Gymnastics head coach Valorie Kondos Field writes about unwelcome commentary inside the arena during the gymnastics competition and meeting a fellow Bruin today, and UCLA Associate AD Mike Sondheimer shares more insight into being a media member at the Games.
Aug. 3, 2012
My first Olympic experience has been amazing. London reminds me of LA in so many ways - its massive diversity, the fact that the city offers anything you could ever want, and even the weather has been LA-esque (at least where I've been).
I've spent the majority of my time in the O2 arena watching gymnastics and running into old friends, making new friends, and ogling the athletes as they exit the arena. It's been fun running into Bruins and making new Bruin friends. Had a fun chat with Tony Dargahi a '76 UCLA graduate, in our hotel lobby this morning. He greatly enjoyed meeting Peng and is excited to have a new Bruin team to follow.
Regarding the competitions, to be honest, they have been a bit odd. The arena and majority of the floor is pink-trimmed in red with cream colored matting. Hmmm. However, the hardest part of the competitions to adjust to is the fact that there is commentary throughout the entire competition. Yes the ENTIRE COMPETITION. There is a woman commentator who announces the athletes, gives their credentials, describes how great they are, what to watch for, etc.
This is not common practice, as our sport is subjective enough without offering opportunity for bias. There is even commentary of a replay shown on the big screen while other athletes are still competing on other events. She is directing the audience's attention to the big screen while other performances are still going on. Very strange and often downright rude. There have been times someone will yell from the stands, "Shut up!" Unfortunately, this whole commentary thing has taken away quite a bit of the "Olympic" feel of the competitions.
Moving on to more positive commentary, I am proud to report that I have learned to speak "British" quite fluently in the week I've been here.
"Make sure there is loo role in the loo."
"Always carry your brolley in case it starts chucking it down."
"Had a nice surprise when we got off the train in Watrerloo station. They were handing out free Ice lollies."
And then for the brief clips: "Are you mad?" "Bloody brilliant" and "She was quite cheeky."
So ... with all of this gymnastics frenzy this is the perfect time for you to purchase your 2013 UCLA Gymnastics Season tix and ... tickets to the 2013 NCAA championships. Go to uclabruins.com to order. We want to see New Pauley full with Bruin fans!
Cheerio and remember to always Keep Calm and Carry on ~
Valorie Kondos Field
Aug. 3, 2012
If you work in collegiate athletics, one of the most frustrating things is trying to learn and manage the NCAA Manual Rule Book, which is several hundred pages.
I thought that was amazing until I received the official Media Handbook for London 2012, which runs 331 pages. To supplement that book, the official Broadcaster Pocket Guide from Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) is 327 pages.
There is a lot more to being part of the media for the Olympic Games than going to your venue to cover the sport. If you want to find someone at the Main Press Centre (MPC), there isn't one floor or two floors, but four floors of media locations - this includes television, radio, internet, newspapers and country coordinators. In the official book, there are 220 map references to find the right country or area to work out of the at the International Broadcast Center (IBC).
If you have the book and are looking for unique media services, here are some available to media - ATM specialized customer service; camera loan and repair; dry Cleaning and Laundry; work-out gymnasium; merchandise shop; pharmacy and general store; cafe and two bars. The services now run 24 hours a day.
There are specialized media maps for every venue to show not only the venue but where the media can sit or shoot photos or conduct interviews after events. There is what is called a 'mixed zone' where you can do immediate interviews with the athletes when they exit the immediate playing area and before they will go to the media press center. It's where NBC interviews someone like Michael Phelps when he finishes a swim race or a USA beach volleyball team or a coach like Adam Krikorian after a women's water polo match.
The pocker broadcaster guide shows you how to wear your media credential, and if you are a photographer or TV person how to wear your 'bib' for identification in the area. They have a symbol guide so you can figure out the designation for each sport. You also have complete information on 'Wenlock' the official Olympic Mascot and the history behind the selection.
You can have a complete guide to transportation from the broadcast center to your venue of choice (you have a lot of options here).
My guess is if you take the time to read the books cover to cover like the NCAA Manual, than any media member can become an Olympic expert.
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