It was one of the most successful sporting events Great Britain has ever seen. Almost 70 medals were won as the team finished in second place in the medals table. In a box seat working on the media operation was one comms person.
by Carol Austin
So I went to Rio. To the Olympics. OK not to compete but to work and I had a ball …
The last three weeks have flown by in a haze of gold, silver and bronze as I worked as a press officer for Team GB’s communications team in Rio. Based at British House located in the beautiful Parque Lage overlooked by the towering Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), the stunning location was used by the British Olympic Association (BOA), Her Majesty’s Government and the Greater London Authority to entertain, host events and welcome athletes, their families and their friends.
My role was to facilitate and manage the media in British House and organise celebrations for medal winning athletes.
Demands on the athletes are high but equally the window of opportunity for promoting their sport, especially the lesser known sports, is a short one in the fast paced world in which we work. As a non-accredited venue we were able to help the non-rights holders with interviews providing the most stunning of backdrops. BBC, ITV, Eurosport, Sky and several Brazilian TV channels all broadcast from British House during the Games.
Medal winning athletes were welcomed with their own ‘medal moment’ in front of that day’s visitors to the House who included governing bodies of sports, business leaders, BOA patrons, visiting trade delegations as well as athletes with their nearest and dearest.
Following the celebration I accompanied the athlete through a plethora of media interviews balancing the needs of the media and the opportunity to promote the athlete, their sport and Team GB with their understandable wish to spend time with family and friends in the relaxing environment British House could offer. We created content for social media including live facebook interviews and live filming of the medal moments.
The rowing was in nearby Lagoa, so I helped out in its mixed zone – where the athletes meet the press – supporting Team GB’s rowers and ensuring the British press got their interviews as well as attending press conferences to supply quotes for follow up news stories.
Long days, hard work but incredibly rewarding I feel privileged to have contributed in a very small way to the amazing success of Team GB.
Carol Austin is a freelance communications professional who worked at the 2016 Rio Olympics for Team GB.