Student Immersion Experience

Immersed in Rio – Part 3

By DeVry University

Hundreds of thousands of people descended on Brazil for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. There were athletes, coaches, personnel and spectators. There were also two students, Ue Lisa Cha and Demetrius Graham. The pair was participating in the DeVry University Team USA Student Immersion Experience, during which they gained on-the-ground, real-world experience working with USOC IT professionals. This is their experiences from their time at one of the largest sporting events in the world. 

Read Part 1 

Read Part 2

August 4

Ue Lisa Cha: I. Am. Exhausted! We knew we’d be busy during this experience, but even we were surprised by all we did today.

The main task was connecting more than 40 NBC receivers. It didn’t sound like much – just connecting receivers to the televisions at the USA House – until we noticed we didn’t have all the parts needed to connect the receiver and clean up the wires to make the area welcoming. So we gave a list of what we needed to the IT staff and got to work doing what we could.

After lunch was when the real work started. We didn’t have time to rest as they needed all the TVs up on the rooftop of the USA House to work, as there was a meeting at that evening. Fortunately we received all the supplies we needed to get the connections going, and from there we just didn’t stop working until a little maybe an hour before the meeting started.

I give all the credit to Demetrius, as it was hard for me to reach most of the areas due to my height. I don’t like to use my height as an excuse, but I feel like I wasn’t able to do a lot or help Demetrius out. The only thing I could do was grab the supplies he needed, hold the ladder so it wouldn’t fall or tilt, and observe if there was connectivity. I mean, I did do some of the connectivity of the receivers I could reach, but Demetrius was able to do more.

It was amazing, though, that we got it all up and running before the meeting. I feel like we accomplished a very big thing today because if we weren’t there, I don’t know how the IT staff would’ve gotten the TVs up and running. The other IT employees are at other sites. For these past couple of days, it has only been two IT staff members and us at the USA House. They certainly were appreciative of us being able to stay late to help out with setting up and making sure the TVs work on the rooftop. 

August 5

Demetrius Graham: The Olympic Games started today, and even better, we got the day off!

After the long day Thursday, the rest was very appreciated. Plus, we were so excited to be able to attend the Opening Ceremony that night.

We had no idea what we were in store for, such as wait times. So before heading out we went to our hotel’s rooftop for the all-you-can-eat buffet. As I stated in a previous blog, buffets and I get along well. Saying I had a big lunch is an understatement.

As we approached the stadium the crowds of people made many streets inaccessible. We actually had to get out of the car and walk down to the stadium because cars couldn’t get through. We saw plenty of USA gear on others walking in. We actually arrived earlier than we thought, so we were able to grab some food. Then we got to our seats. The electricity and excitement in the arena … it could have charged a car battery! THE PLACE WAS PACKED!

Every prop, every event, every set change had me on the edge of my seat during the ceremonies. Then Team USA entered. It was such a prideful moment to see our flag and athletes. I couldn’t stop cheering!

Fast forward to the country announcements. It really felt like you were a parent waiting for your child to be called so you could shout at the top of your lounges your approval, appreciation and support. Not only your child (country), but for the other children (countries), as well. It then ended with the message of togetherness and peace that was the icing of the cake. The only thing that was missing was the crowd coming together to hug one another.

It was, without a doubt, an incredible night.

August 6

Lisa: After the previous night I slept in a bit until 9 a.m. I’m glad I did.

While eating breakfast, I looked up to see one of the greatest women’s volleyball players of all time walk in to the food court. I heard that she and some other volleyball players were staying at the hotel, and it definitely made me feel special I got to see them. Also made me feel very short. Wow are they tall! I’ll be honest, I really wanted an autograph, but I also didn’t want to bother her. I came to the conclusion that if I saw her again, I would for sure ask for a picture (never saw her again, unfortunately).

Riding that excitement, my attention turned to getting to see the men’s and women’s swimming competitions. We decided to walk to the aquatic center. It was so hot that I felt like I just wanted to faint.

Fortunately, it was much cooler inside the aquatic center. We watched a couple of rounds, though, I think I enjoy watching the events on TV more than in person. I did love the atmosphere, though, and how the people are so affectionate towards their countries.


Demetrius: I agree that it was a little slower to watch in person than on TV. That said, TV doesn’t come close to capturing the intensity and passion of the crowds (including me) when cheering for their countries. THERE’S NO BETTER FEELING than cheering and rooting for your country’s athlete to push on, and do their absolute best. And when they succeed … WOW! It’s too hard to explain the feeling of seeing an athlete from your country competing. It just really brings out your national pride, and celebrating it with other countries makes you feel connected.

I’m so lucky and proud to have been a part of it.