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Date
14 Aug 2008
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IOC News

Nice to meet you Alyssa


www.olympic.org meets Alyssa Roenigk, senior writer for ESPN the Magazine
 
When it comes to big sporting events, ESPN the Magazine senior writer Alyssa Roenigk has been to them all: the Italian Grand Prix, the X Games, the Super Bowl, US Tennis Open and her latest, the Olympic Games. As a journalist, her job requires her to travel the globe and report on the world’s best athletes. Since this is her first time attending an Olympic Games as a member of the media, we thought we’d check in on her.


 
Why do you think the Olympic Games are so popular?
I think they are popular, number one, because of national pride. And because the Games are one of the few sporting events where David really can beat Goliath. The Games are as much about individual stories as they are about competition. And it makes for compelling television.
 
If you could trade places with one Olympic athlete, who would it be and why?
Tyson Gay, for 9.76 seconds. Because I want to know what it feels like to be the fastest human alive. Ever.
 
What do you love most about your job?
The travel. I travel the world, meet interesting people and tell their stories.
 
What’s it like to be a girl in an industry overrun with men?
I think the toughest part is dealing with perceptions. A lot of guys believe I have it easier because I am a woman: interviews are easier to land, athletes open up more to a woman and when I am in a locker room, I just look different, so athletes gravitate to me. Honestly, sometimes all of that is true. And at other times, I am called “little lady” in pressrooms, heckled at in locker rooms, denied access because I look out of place or treated like an outsider by my peers. You have to have thick skin, and I’ve learned that it’s not personal.
 
Any good behind-the-scenes stories?
The day after I returned home from the Turin Games I shadowed snowboard gold medallists Hannah Teter and Shaun White as they made appearances. It was interesting to see how little the journalists knew about the athletes they had invited onto their shows. At one stop, an anchor asked Hannah how she felt about winning the gold medal after her teammate fell near the finish line. (That was a different event.) Also, both athletes had obviously been completely out of touch with international news while in Turin, but that didn’t stop anchors from asking about topics as silly as a dog that had been stolen from the Westminster Dog Show.
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