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.