So, maybe this is not the best day to write a blog about what I did at work since I took the day off! I love the Colorado lifestyle and spent a long weekend with friends in the mountains on a hut trip. We snow-shoed into a cabin in the woods, sort of near Vail, and hung out “off the grid” (we didn’t even know the score of the Super Bowl until today!). We all had worked for the USOC at one time or another and are still in the business (USA Basketball, World Anti Doping Association and World Triathlon Congress) so it was fun to reminisce and revel in how far we have all come professionally. Then we went out on the trail, found a steep hill and sledded like a bunch of 6 year olds! (The video could possibly become a YouTube sensation).
So, I’ll take advantage of the day off and fill you in on my specific responsibilities within the International Games division. I have three major areas that take most of my time, although everyone in our division has on their job description at the very bottom “other duties as assigned”, which can mean anything. Since I am good with numbers (ah, there is that finance degree put to good use!), I am a quasi business manager. Each Games or project is a unique business unit (BU) with a separate budget. I create the yearly budget, working within a target established by our finance division. Then each month I review all the detailed expenditures to make sure they are correct and posted in the proper accounts. Overall there are 12 different business units, which add up to almost $6 million for 2011 (which will grow to about $15 million in 2012 – a Summer Olympic year). Anywhere from 4-6 times a year we also have to prepare a forecast for the organization indicating how we are tracking for the year. Everyone wants to know if there is a little “extra” money in the budget.
The second area I specialize in is air travel, essentially determining how we are going to get the Games delegation to and from where they need to go. For example, we will have over 1,200 team members fly to Guadalajara for the Pan American Games next year. United Airlines is a long-time sponsor and we have a dedicated set of agents who help us with all our reservations and blocking seats. Unfortunately, United does not fly to Guadalajara so I had to research other options, including private charters. Luckily, Continental Airlines does service Guadalajara from Houston and United and Continental are conveniently merging! There is hope for me yet. More to come on this in another blog, as this will take a lot of my time this week! The craziest thing that has happened to me in this area was helping load a charter for the US Paralympic team to fly from Washington, DC to Athens, Greece in 2004. It was surreal to be standing under the belly of a 747 on the tarmac at Dulles Airport tagging wheels and chairs so that they could easily be matched up again on landing. I also took one of the service dogs for a visually impaired athlete for a potty break before take-off!
My third major area is to oversee event tickets. Yup – Olympic event tickets. I work with the Games organizing committee to place the order on behalf of the USOC leadership, sport governing bodies and athlete family tickets (the USOC has a very generous policy of providing two tickets free to every athlete for the events they are scheduled to compete in). Just last week we received our initial allocation for the London Olympic Games. More to come on this tomorrow. I’ve posted some pictures of the event tickets from Vancouver. It took five people three days to physically count, inspect and sort the tickets.