July 9, 2012
Michigan at the Olympics
Former U-M swimmer Keenan Koss (2007-10) hung up her swim cap after graduating in 2010, but she didn't leave the sport of swimming. Not entirely, anyway. Koss works as a production associate at NBC, and will head to London on July 22 to assist in coverage of swimming and diving at the 2012 Olympic Games.
When it comes to your work, you said that you 'wear a lot of hats.' What are some of the things you've done at NBC?
"I pretty much do anything and everything they ask. I've been working here for two years, which is crazy to think about. I've done research for Football Night in America but mostly work on making edits for feature stories. For example, at the Olympic Trials, I worked on those heartwarming feature stories that make people go, 'Oh, I didn't know that.' I also work with graphics, which is pretty intimidating, especially if you don't know that much about the sport you're working with. I know so many interesting facts and statistics about sports now that I would never have cared to know about before, but I love it, and it's an awesome job."
Your main title is production associate. Describe what that is, and what you do on a daily basis.
"You're the producer's right hand, but it varies. I could be preparing for the Harvard/Yale football game, which would mean researching, talking to SIDs, getting game notes, etc. On the opposite side, if I am doing an edit or working on a feature, there's more communication involved. A lot of things go into it. You need to know how to talk to people because your role could change every day. I've asked people older than me how they prepared, and they told me two things. One, you'll get thrown into the fire, and two, be ready for anything, and it's true."
You've seen the Olympics on television, but now you are going to the Olympics to cover it. How different do you expect the experience to be on the production side?
"When I was going into my junior year, I was actually an intern for NBC at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. That was a weird experience. Prior to going, I had done some training with Club Wolverine, so I was covering some of the people I was swimming with. For this, being a little more removed from college, it makes me really excited, especially for the Michigan people that will be there. Swimming is a sport that's always going to be in my heart. I love it, and I'm super excited to see what happens."
From Olympic Trials to the Olympic Games, swimming is still in your blood. What do you think is the big storyline in the pool at this year's Games?
"The overwhelming storyline is Ryan Lochte vs. Michael Phelps, and it's a real story. It's not media driven. They go back and forth in every race. It's going to be genuinely interesting. Every time they race, who is going to win? You don't know. Beyond that, Missy Franklin is a cool story. She's 17 years old, and she could legitimately win seven medals. That's crazy to think about."
How did your academic and athletic experiences at Michigan help you get to this point?
"I'm always reminded what Michigan did for me. I have a huge Block M on my desk, and if you ask anybody I work with, it's obvious. Being a student-athlete, you really learn how to balance everything, put things into perspective and know that there is no limit to how hard you can work. If you work hard and have a strong balance, the benefits will show up. Jim [Richardson] was always a proponent of working hard. I never thought I'd be able to travel to the Super Bowl or the Olympics, but my experiences at Michigan taught me that hard work and diligence really do pay off."