USA Gymnastics: prep for the big event

So much has happened since my last post, but I’ll try to keep this on point. It’s been one busy week. For a while now we’ve been preparing for the USA Gymnastics Championships that are going on all next week in Louisville. It’s basically the national championships for trampoline and tumbling, rhythmic gymnastics and acrobatic gymnastics on the elite level and four junior Olympic levels, which is the step below elite.

I’ve been running around like a cat that just had a particularly large dose of catnip. Everyone in the office has been going nonstop trying to get everything squared away so we’re prepared. But before I get into all of that I’ll explain a little big about the different disciplines. What you see on TV and love to watch during the Olympics is artistic gymnastics. Trampoline and tumbling has three and a half disciplines basically. There’s individual trampolinesynchronized trampolinepower tumbling and double-mini. This is not your ordinary backyard trampoline. Rhythmic gymnastics is all about flexibility, dance, balances and dynamic movements. With rhythmic there’s individual and group routines. Its events for this quad are rope, hoop, ribbon and clubs. Then there’s acrobatic gymnastics. It’s similar to the stunt work done in cheerleading or the balancing acts you see in Cirque du Soleil shows. In acro there’s mixed pairswomen’s pairsmen’s pairswomen’s group and men’s group. While watching acro worlds live today, I was already envisioning pictures I could take next week.

Back to what I’ve been doing to help prepare. I honestly worked on a little bit of everything to get ready for the championships. A lot of the things I did were to make life easier next week — my kind of work. I wrote a field of competitors release for the championships (there are more than 1,600 competitors!), which took about three days to get completely finalized and ready to send out to the media. I reformatted a spreadsheet for ease when it Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 8.00.06 PMcomes to posting results and wrote a media opportunities release for the local media to let them know what each session contained and when it was and writing media advisories for the media day and kick-off celebration. I got to use my fancy Excel formula, which was exciting. Call me a nerd. Go on. The formula turns all that jumble in the picture into something like this when you plug it in: Elizabeth Grimsley, Decatur, Ga., and Caitlyn Stroh of Thomasville, Ga. both of University of Georgia.

I also worked on a lot of releases not having anything to do with the following week’s championships. Eddie Penev was awarded the USOC June Athlete of the Month, which I filled out the application for. Kerri Strug had her second child. The field of competitors was released for next week’s men’s national qualifier. The USOC announced the official delegation for the Youth Olympic Games, which includes four gymnasts. I also proofed releases coming in from France where Scott is covering the 2014 World Acrobatic Gymnastics Championships.

I sat in on a call with a local Louisville newspaper editor as he and Leslie discussed feature story ideas and media day for next week. I also had what felt like 50 meetings, which I don’t actually mind all that much. I was even so busy Thursday, I almost forgot to eat. I definitely know what Nick means when he says sometimes being hungry is just so inconvenient.

Although this week was non-stop work, it should make next week a lot easier and a pretty fun event. I even get to take some pictures of the gymnastics going on when I’m not doing anything else, so be warned you’re about to have a lot of images coming your way in the next post. I also made sure to plant the seed that if there was a feature story idea a reporter didn’t want to write about, I would be MORE than happy to write it up for the website. I’m hoping next week I’ll not only get to take some pictures of stunning gymnastics but write about those stunning gymnasts as well. Besides that, I’ll be coordinating media at the convention center during the day and helping Leslie with that task at the Yum! Center at night. I might also get to finally meet some of the trampolinists (trampoliners?) in real life that I interviewed for stories over the phone a while back when I was writing for Inside Gymnastics during the Olympics.

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 9.03.30 PMThat’s it for now. Next week is going to be crazy, but I’m sure with it will come some great stuff to write about and even greater pictures to help tell the story. I’m just hoping I survive Louisville! Until then, go on over to my personal blog and read about all of this plus a 20,000 member Jehovah’s Witness convention, descriptions of clouds and flying at night, my Indypendence Day and much more.

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