Going for gold with an Olympic internship
Sport management student Brad Birling headed to Winter Olympics as an intern for the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Story by Matt Watson | Photos by Alyson McClaran
For nearly 3,000 world-class athletes traveling to Pyeongchang, South Korea, the 2018 Winter Olympics will provide the opportunity of a lifetime. The Olympic Games are exclusive to the best of the best, those who reach the top of their respective sports after years and years of training.
For Brad Birling, the 2018 Olympics are just the start. Birling’s not a champion speed skater, alpine skier or bobsledder. He’s an intern.
Birling, a sport management major at MSU Denver, landed a world-class internship with the U.S. Olympic Committee. He spent the fall semester living at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, working alongside resident athletes working toward the Olympics just like he was. Birling works on the consumer products team, responsible for outfitting athletes from Team USA at the 2018 Games.
“My main focus will be team processing. Essentially that’s where athletes come through and get all their apparel for Nike, Ralph Lauren and other sponsors. They’ll get their opening and closing ceremony uniforms, their medal stand uniforms and a bunch of other apparel to wear around while they’re in Korea and not in competition,” Birling said.
The job includes brand management, such as making sure the right logos end up on the right clothing in the right size, as well as logistics – making sure the clothes make it to South Korea to the right athletes.
A.J. Turkovich, manager of consumer products for the USOC, said, “Brad is a great resource. He’s an extremely hard worker and brings a lot of organization to team processing. He also led our staff processing in Colorado Springs, outfitting over 300 of our USOC staff.”
Birling previously interned with USA Rugby and hopes to continue working in Olympic sports after he graduates in spring 2018. His internships and academic program have given him plenty of opportunities to travel. After he gets back from South Korea, Birling will be one of about 20 sport management students taking a study abroad trip to Scotland in March.
“It couldn’t happen to a better student,” said Colleen Colles, sport management program coordinator at MSU Denver. “He’s very dedicated. He works hard to make those connections, and once he gets his foot in the door, people are impressed by him.