From Syracuse to South Korea

by Mia Rossi

March 19, 2018

Interning at the 2018 winter Olympics

When junior television, radio and film major Matthew DeMattia met an NBC Sports recruiter visiting Newhouse during his freshman year, he didn’t know it would lead him, just two years later, to work at the world’s biggest sports event: the Olympics. DeMattia was one of several Newhouse students who spent the month of February interning at the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. “It was an unbelievable experience,” says DeMattia.

While Newhouse student interns were spread out across all of the games’ events, DeMattia’s home base was the Gangneung Hockey Center, where he worked as a runner.

“My job was distributing rosters and stats throughout the games, cleaning up and organizing all of the production trailers and doing a lot of food and coffee runs!” he says. “It was without a doubt [one of] the most educational experiences I’ve had.”

DeMattia says that working at the games helped to answer a lot of the questions he’d had as a viewer about live sporting events. “There were little things I had always wondered about, like how there is always a replay available  [of] something that happened five seconds earlier. I now know,” he says. “At the Olympics, there [was a] separate truck, nicknamed ‘Elvis,’ with about five to seven people who were responsible for getting the various angles of play in real time and having them ready right away in case the producer wanted to show an instant replay.”

DeMattia also says he learned a lot about the sports television industry outside of just what happens at the Olympics. “I saw how the big decisions are made, like which of the big games the network will air, or which commentary crew a network will use for a particular game.”

Although the hockey interns didn’t get a day off during the games, DeMattia says he was still able to do other things. “I went to just about every event in my cluster: curling, speed skating and figure skating.” He says he was also able to leave the media village and explore South Korea. “I took a trip to Seoul on a day when I had a late call time. I also got to go out at night with other interns and experience Korean culture,” he says. “Most of the friends I made were Korean, either by heritage or residency.”

And while DeMattia was out exploring Korean culture, he never forgot where he came from. “There were Syracuse alumni just about everywhere I turned,” he says. “I’d introduce myself to a small group of people or walk through Olympic Park with a ’Cuse sweatshirt on and inevitably run into another Orange man or woman.” The Orange also surrounded his work place. “One of my bosses, James Stuart, is an [alumnus], and he was a tremendous person and an even better boss.”

DeMattia still has a year and a half left at Newhouse, but he already has his sight set on the 2020 games. “While I don’t plan to work in sports as my career, I’ll drop everything and go every two years if they’ll hire me back,” he says. “It was the best experience of my life.” 

Mia Rossi is a senior broadcast and digital journalism major at the Newhouse School.