Most of us are watching the London Olympics from our couch, but one St. Thomas alum gets to watch all the action in person.
Jon Krawczynski, a 2001 St. Thomas graduate, now works for the Associated Press covering his first Olympics for the news organization and calls it “a true honor.”
“I’ve been working for AP for more than 10 years and have been waiting for the call since the day I started,” he said. “So when I did officially get invited, it was definitely one of the highlights of my career.”
For the opening ceremony, Krawczynski was assigned to document the happenings outside of the arena. He was able to see the show thanks to a screen broadcasting the ceremony outside and was really impressed.
“Seeing the Queen and Bond ‘parachute’ into the stadium, the glowing Olympic rings lowered by helicopters, the march of the nations, it was all pretty awesome,” he said. “And the fireworks! I was right on the bridge where many were being launched and it was about the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. Just an amazing show.”
He’s had the opportunity to cover a little bit of everything while in London, keeping the AP blog “Eyes on London” updated.
“So far I’ve covered archery, handball, field hockey, gymnastics, basketball, track, cycling, diving, water polo and I’m sure I’m forgetting something,” he said. “It’s been awesome to see how popular some of the lesser known games are. People go crazy for field hockey over here.”
His favorite moment of the Games so far has been covering the US women gymnasts taking home the gold for the team competition. The environment was electric and the performance was breathtaking – one of the most dominant in memory, he said. An interview with swimming star Michael Phelps after his last Olympic race also tops Krawczynski list of favorite moments. Phelps announced earlier this year the London games would be his last.
Reports have circulated of low spectator turnout and empty seats at many of the venues, but Krawczynski said every one he has attended has been “phenomenal.”
“The arenas are packed and loud, loud, loud,” he said. “The Brits are really getting behind their athletes and every time one is in contention, you can hear the roar clear across London.”
The grueling 12-hour-plus days leave little time for sightseeing, but Krawczynski’s wife will be joining him in London when the games are over for a little vacation.
“It’s just been everything I’d hoped for. As a sportswriter, you want to be in the biggest situations possible where the most eyes are, and what’s bigger right now than the Olympics,” he said. “Put me in the big spots with the big pressure and let’s roll. Just great to be in the middle of it, and I sure hope they let me come back.”
Kristopher Jobe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.