From the Crisis Hotline to the Curling Sideline

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The Olympic rings in Sochi, Russia. Photo by Colleen Moran.

When the Olympic flame is lit tonight at the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, one KU employee will be there, pen in hand, ready to report on the latest news. For the next three weeks KU Senior Communications Coordinator Colleen Moran will be posted rink side at the Ice Cube Curling Centre, half a world away from her day job at the NSC.

We thought it would be fun to turn the tables on Colleen – someone who, as the crisis and media hotline manager and a ONE editor, is more used to being the interviewer than the interviewee – and ask her a few questions about her upcoming adventure.

ONE: Congratulations on going to the Olympics! What are you going to do there?
Colleen: Thanks! This trip was a long time in the making and I can hardly believe it’s time for the Games to begin! I’ll be a volunteer reporter – covering curling – for the Olympic News Service. The ONS is like an international wire service for all of the media outlets attending the Olympics. With 18 days of competition and all of the qualifying rounds for each sport, there’s no way any one news outlet would have the budget to send a reporter to each and every event. That’s where the ONS steps in. When you’re watching the Olympics on TV or reading about it online, there’s a good chance those producers or reporters relied on stories and quotes gathered by people like me in the Olympic News Service.

How did you get involved in volunteering at the Olympics?
I started checking the Sochi 2014 site every month or so after the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, waiting for the day when they’d post volunteer applications. As soon as the volunteer applications were available in early 2012 I applied. I received my official acceptance while waiting for my flight home from the CD Summit in Orlando last July.

Do you speak Russian?
A little bit. I’ve been trying to teach myself for the past year.The official languages of the Olympics are English and French so I’ll spend most of my time working and talking in English. In fact, part of my volunteer training included taking English tests!

Reporter’s note: A closer look at Colleen’s cube reveled small labels with the Russian word for the object, like chair and telephone.

You can't get there from here, at least not directly. Colleen will take three flights and one train ride in about 30 hours to travel from her home in Portland, Oregon, to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

You can’t get there from here, at least not directly. Colleen will take three flights and one train ride in about 30 hours to travel from her home in Portland, Oregon, to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Are you worried about safety?
Not really – my boss (David Roy, Senior Director of Communications & Community) is worried on my behalf. Working on the crisis hotline gives you a wonderful sense of perspective. I think I’ll be as safe in Sochi as I could be anywhere else.

Will you get to watch any of the other events?
I hope so! I haven’t purchased any tickets yet, but I hope I can go to some of the other events on my days off. It isn’t every day that you get an opportunity like this, so I’m going to try to experience as much of the Olympics as I can.

Why do you want to do this?
I’ve wanted to go to the Olympics since I was little girl. It’s this incredible mash-up of people and cultures all united by their excitement for sport and it seems like an amazing experience.

We hope to hear more from Colleen as the Olympic Games get underway.

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