Writing Our Way to London

For the past three days, I’ve been in Dallas covering the USOC Media Summit, a bi-annual event that brings together members of the U.S. Olympic media and hundreds of Olympic hopefuls. As journalists, our jobs here are two-fold: We write each day after attending roundtables, press conference and one-on-one interviews with the athletes. (Check out our ESPN.com blog HERE.) And we fill our notebooks for London, where we will write daily stories and cover everything from basketball to badminton, gymnastics and fencing. The more athletes, PR people, press agents and reps we meet and score face time with here in Dallas, the easier our days will be during the Games. 

There are so many things I like about covering the Olympics. (The food in the media center is not one of them.) But mainly, for someone who loves to tell stories, there is no better event to do that than at the Olympics. Man, these athletes have stories. The more obscure the sport and the athletes, the better the stories. And the Paralympic athletes? Forget it. Every one of their stories is made for TV. We profiled a few of them HERE today.

The past few days has reminded me why I love writing about sports.

But sometimes, we find stories that don’t have a place in the magazine or online. The short piece I wrote below (after chatting with Cassidy yesterday) is one of those. It didn’t fit into our coverage, but I felt like writing about her anyway. (It’s also good practice for my daily AR.com Olympics blog, which I’ll write in London, just like I did in Beijing and Vancouver.)

Cassidy is one athlete who truly understands why writers love covering the Games.

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If Cassidy Krug had her way, she’d be writing these words. 

    Each night before bed, the 26-year-old member of USA Diving writes in her journal with the same discipline she uses to attack morning workouts. “I make myself write 750 words every night,” she says. “Some nights, it’s stories, some nights it’s poems or lists. Some nights I just write about my day. But every night, I write.”     

    Krug, who graduated from Stanford in 2007 with a degree in English, says she hopes to have a career in writing after she retires from competitive diving. She’s just not sure what that means. “I’d really love to write a novel,” she says, “but that seems like such a big goal.” Sort of like competing in the Olympics? “Yeah, I guess so,” she says. “But bigger. That might be for down the road.” 

    For now, she’s focused on making the Olympic team after narrowly missing out on the 2008 Games. “I’m not going to mix words. It was disappointing not making the team,” she says. “To work that hard and fall that short. But I also learned a lot through that experience that I’m bringing into this year.”

    Tonight, after a very long day at her first media summit, Krug says she will write about her experience in Dallas, about all the writers she met throughout the day. “I’ll write about what a crazy day it was,” she says. “I’ll write about all of you. I’ve never done anything like this, but it’s great prep for the Olympics. Being comfortable with the media will be so important at the Games.” Especially because one day, she might be one of us.

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