STU Alumni Bring Scores, Stories, and Results from Beijing Winter Olympics
The Olympic Games is one of the few sporting events that generate global attention, and St. Thomas University alumni were among those bringing Canadians the scores, results, and stories from the Games.
Zack Smart, BA ’16, Philip Drost, BA ’15, and Nick Murray, BA ’14, were part of the CBC’s coverage team for the Beijing Winter Olympics—Smart and Murray were writers with CBC Sports’ digital team and Drost helped produce the digital daily show “While You Were Sleeping.”
“I’ve covered both a Summer and Winter Olympic games,” Smart said. “Both are huge highlights in my career, but my Beijing work was even more memorable for me as a fan of winter sports. One of my earliest childhood memories is watching the Nagano Winter Olympics in 1998.”
WORKING AROUND THE CLOCK
With the time difference between Canada and Beijing, providing full coverage of the events made for an interesting workday.
“I’d wake up around 6:00 PM, get breakfast, and then hop on my Ski-Doo to ride into work for my shift at midnight,” said Murray, who works for CBC in Nunavut.
“I’d have the television on the main CBC feed, along with a split screen to watch whatever event I was assigned to cover.”
Drost, who works out of CBC’s Toronto office, had a similar experience.
“I would get in at 1:00 AM, see what had already happened at the Olympics for that day and what was yet to happen. From that, I would work with another producer to write the script for the upcoming show, then we would work with the host to record the on-camera segment.”
SHARING THE ATHLETE EXPERIENCE
The trio of alumni agreed that while covering the Games kept them up to date on medals and results, it was the athletes and sharing their experiences that made the work memorable.
“It was a lot of fun to be there and really experience all the highs and lows, from the excitement of the first medal to the disappointment of falls and near-podium misses,” Drost said.
For Smart, the highlight of covering the Games was having the opportunity to interview the widower of late Canadian freestyle skiing pioneer Sarah Burke.
“The conversation was so memorable and meaningful as it further illustrated how Sarah’s legacy continues to shine ten years after her tragic death,” he said. “She continues to inspire to this day, as Canada’s Cassie Sharpe and Rachael Karker both paid tribute to Sarah after they won halfpipe medals last month in Bejing.”
The opportunity to cover the Games only comes every two years, and it’s one Murray is thankful for each time.
“This was my fourth time covering the Olympics and although I’ve been riding the news wave since I graduated in 2014, my dream is still to work in sports. It’s a nice change of pace to get opportunities like this every once and awhile and it’s one I’m very thankful for.”