Aug. 9, 2012
The USA Basketball women's national team willl play Australia in the Olympic semifinal today. Team USA, which is led by UConn head coach Geno Auriemma and six former Huskies, will take on Australia at 12 p.m. and the contest will air live on the NBC Basketball Channel.
Auriemma, Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Tina Charles, Asjha Jones Maya Moore and Diana Taurasi will look to lead Team USA to its fifth-straight gold medal. UConn assistant director of video services Keith Anderson is traveling with Team USA in London and his latest entry is below.
“Going for Gold Is more than meets the Eye.”
Hello Husky Fans,
If someone was to tell me that I would go the London Olympics and only see about a dozen televised events outside of basketball, I would have never believed them. I only caught the last half hour of the Opening Ceremonies, and still have not been to Abby Road, St. Paul’s Cathedral, or taken a trip around the London Eye (the big Ferris wheel). Although we aren’t watching the events, we are keeping up with team USA and the medal count through our sports information director, Caroline Williams. To know you are part of something much bigger than just a few basketball games is amazing.
This afternoon, Team USA takes on Australia in the semifinals. The team is now 6-0 after beating our neighbors to the north, Canada, in the quarterfinals. The competition is about to get a lot stiffer, and the pressure to succeed is building more and more every day. You can see it in the coaches, players, and staff.
I’ve been a part of athletics for over ten years. I worked with an NFL team before UConn, but still have never seen anything comparable to the amount of time and number of people that is involved in two, 12-player teams. USA basketball and the NBA have set up a mobile office inside of our hotel that began being constructed in March 2011, once the contract with the hotel was signed.
“Approximately 80 members of our staff are here in various roles,” said Tim Frank, Senior Vice President of Basketball Communications for the NBA. “About 30 of the staff members are focused entirely on assisting USA Basketball needs on-site.”
There’s a reason USA basketball is the number one program in the world. And if you take a few steps into our hotel, you will see one of the main reasons why. Like the streets of London, there is a constant energy that surrounds the teams. Sure, the players are the best at what they do, but the people who are focused on seeing that everything goes off without a hitch are also the best in their fields.
It’s impressive to watch as the Executive Director/CEO of USA Basketball, Jim Tooley, returns from a run in Hyde Park and goes into a meeting with an NBA executive or head coach still sweating from his run. Watching Carol Callan, the Women’s National Team Director, switch from checking email, to talking with Geno about team chemistry, to making sure an athlete’s family member is getting from the airport to the hotel safely, is fascinating.
“The responsibilities are all over the board,” said Frank. “We of course have our events staff here facilitating many of the logistics of the teams themselves, as well as the hospitality of our guests. I'm here as a media relations person for both the men's and women's teams. We have several other members of our office that are here to service our corporate partners.”
So whether its tending to the players’ guests, keeping the media and people back home informed of the outcomes, coaching the players, keeping everyone healthy and well fed, or making sure the coaching staff doesn’t have to worry about the video end of things, there are a lot of people who are here to make sure that USA basketball stays at number one. There is a lot of dedication to a cause bigger than each of our individual roles. And there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that the average sports fan can’t even imagine.
With only two games left, and a Gold Medal in sight, I’m proud to be working for this organization. And I’m really glad that my wife is so understanding of what we are trying to accomplish, when she is spending most of her vacation in a hotel meeting room. Hopefully, with only a few teams left in the tournament, we’ll be able to go check out a few of these famous London landmarks. And who knows, maybe I’ll convince her that the top of the London Eye isn’t that high. I mean, we’re so close already to being on top of the word, what’s a few more feet?
Cheers Husky Fans and Go USA!