Interview

By
Anna Frisk is 20 years old and witnessed history.
She is a junior at the University of Iowa. And she is studying journalism. Her freshman year Iowa was offering a program, accepting 23 students, to go to China and be media correspondents for the Beijing Olympics. “I applied immediately. I thought it would be a great experience and would help me in my career path,” she says.
Not only did she have to apply, but she had to take classes on the Chinese language and culture. “I had no idea what I was getting into.”
When Anna was accepted she found out she would be following either tennis or wrestling. “I hate wresting, and I really didn’t know anything about tennis. But I chose tennis…To get prepared for the games, we had to watch tennis clips on youtube and go to sports discussions,” says Anna.
She had to train for two months before she went overseas. Anna arrived in Beijing two weeks before the spectators and athletes. “Watching the transformation of Beijing was interesting. The city is dirty and noisy. The places where they didn’t fix up for the games were just covered with Olympic propaganda. But this meant so much more for China.”
The games opened on August 8, 2008. Tennis started on the tenth. And on the ninth she had to go to a news conference and get a feel of what to expect. “I guess I never pictured myself with that kind of status,” says Anna.
Everyday Anna would get assigned different athletes to follow. She would watch the match and write down highlights. Immediately after the match she would go the Mixzone (where the journalists mingled with the athletes). Your goal was to get the interview in five to ten minutes after the match. “It was nerve-wracking—you never know if they could speak English, or if I would get down my quote.”
Each correspondent was allowed to go and watch the Today Show live. On Anna’s day, she saw Michael Phelps’ interview the day after he won his eighth gold medal. “He didn’t have the medals around his neck. I was a little disappointed.”
Unfortunately, Michael didn’t come around and talk to anyone. But, the rest of his relay team did. Only one team-mate was wearing his medal. He let Anna hold it. Another member of the team came around and said “Man, I wish I would’ve worn my medal. That way the girls would be talking to me.” The one with the medal around his neck reached in his pocket and pulled out a sock. “Don’t worry,” he said, “I have another one.”
“It was like, no big deal. I’m just going to pull out my gold medal.”
The best, however, was still to come. To get into the Mixzone you had to have a badge on you at all times. Anna was only allowed to use her badge to get into tennis. But her and her friend decided they would use them to get into track and field. “Crazy, when you think of the Olympics you don’t think of tennis, you think of track.”
They got in using the badges. And they made their way up to the front row at the 15 meters mark. Where they witnessed Bolt win the100 meter dash. The fastest man in the world. “That was the best day of the Olympics.”
“I felt like I was part of history.”





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