Runner for the Olympics

My senior spring semester has been a little unconventional to say the least. I boarded a plane for a six-week stay in Italy while most of my Colgate friends were enjoying their last week of winter break. On January 16, 2006, I started working for NBC’s Today show as a runner in Torino, Italy. As a runner, I helped with the Today show’s coverage of the Winter Olympics. My day-to-day activities were varied. Before the show started, I spent most of my time researching Olympic venues, athletes and transportation so that I could provide the production staff with any information that they needed. Once the show started, I managed guest transportation in Torino and to Olympic venues to ensure that guests made their deadlines.

One of the coolest aspects of my job was that I got to meet a lot of the athletes who came on the show. I met snowboarders Gretchen Bleiler and Hannah Teeter, speed skater Chad Hendrick and the American men’s curling team. Everyone was really down-to-earth and a lot of fun. Of course, I also got to meet all of the Today and Weekend Today show hosts including Katie Couric, Matt Lauer, Al Roker, Campbell Brown and Lester Holt. I even met some other television personalities who were in Torino such as Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush and Nick from Bravo’s Project Runway (He should have won!).

Although I helped to cover the Olympics, I did not have much time to go to events. The runners worked twelve-hour days, and I only had one day off from work while I was in Italy. Fortunately, I managed to squeeze in two hockey games and two medal ceremonies where I saw Kelly Clarkson and Avril Lavigne perform. The runners made the most of the little free time we had by going out to eat, shopping, walking around the city and sampling Torino’s nightlife.

Torino doesn’t have anything quite like the Jug, but it did have a lot of fun places to go out. The runners liked to frequent Murazzi, the cave-like clubs along the River Po. The parties at different houses (Holland House, Casa Italia, etc.) were also fun places to kick back and soak up the Olympic atmosphere.

We ate well in Torino. The pizza, pasta, cheese and wine were delicious, but Torino’s chocolate is what most people write home about. I think that the Today show gave a lot of business to one of the chocolate stores near the set. I had countless people come up and ask me directions to the store after it was featured on the show. Espresso and other coffee drinks such as my favorite drink, marrochino, were also popular among the runners.

I lived in an apartment in downtown Torino with two other runners that we found through an Italian version of Craig’s list. We were nervous about the apartment and dealing with our landlord who only spoke Italian, but we lucked out. To our surprise, the apartment was clean, spacious and complete with wireless internet. We needed a translator to help us communicate with our landlord at first, but by the end of the trip we had learned enough Italian to communicate with our landlord without the translator.

Working for the Today show in Torino was an incredible experience. I got to work for my dream company, go to the Olympics and live in Italy. Despite all of the perks of being a runner, I have to admit that it is great to be back on campus. For now, it’s time to finish my remaining classes and enjoy the rest of my senior spring with friends.