When she arrives in Sochi later this week, Bonnie Bruner will be attending her fourth Olympics.
She’s not an athlete and likely won’t get to watch any of the performances or competitions, but she will work 10 hours nearly every day for the month she’s in Russia and see athletes and other celebrities up close.
The 1996 Whiteland Community High School graduate has worked in TV production since college, and her interest in sports broadcasting has gotten her monthlong jobs at the Olympics four times. This February will mark her fourth Olympic video gig and will have her spending long days in the international broadcasting center, where journalists covering the games also work.
She will log details about sporting events while watching live video feeds. Producers will use the descriptions Bruner and her co-workers write to plan their broadcasts. She will watch, take notes on and archive live video feeds from several sporting events so companies such as NBC can broadcast the videos internationally.
Bruner, 35, worked at the Sidney Olympics in 2000 through Asbury University’s school of communications arts, which sends students in paid media communications jobs to every Olympics. The company that hired her liked her work and hired her for the Vancouver and London Olympics after that. She’ll be working for the same company in Sochi.
The rest of the year, Bruner works for Asbury University in Wilmore, Ky., as a graduate studies coordinator and recruiter for the communication arts program.
The jobs at the Olympics have been the highlights of her career, she said.
“It’s my favorite job that I do. I’ve always loved live TV,” she said. “It’s kind of like thrill-seeking a little bit. It’s so intense and nerve-racking.”
Because of her work schedule, the cost of tickets and the difficulty getting tickets to events, Bruner hasn’t been able to go to any of the individual sporting events at the Olympics.
But the overall experience is exciting, between doing the fast-paced work, meeting journalists from around the world and seeing athletes and celebrities show up regularly at her workplace, she said. During the London Olympics, she saw Princes William and Harry when they were walking through the international broadcasting center.
Because she’s working, she has to stay professional and can’t ask for autographs or start conversations with celebrities. But when the princes came into the international broadcasting center in London, most of the workers couldn’t resist snapping photos with their phones and trailing the royal brothers. She joined the crowd.
“Everyone just started following them around. There was just a horde of people,” she said.
Also in London, she walked into work one day with the U.S. basketball team. Athletes regularly give interviews during the week before the Olympics, so many of them will go to the international broadcasting center for those, she said.
“It’s just kind of fun because you never know who you’re going to see,” she said.
Bruner likes to see the athletes, but she particularly likes seeing celebrity journalists, she said. She hopes to spot NBC anchors Lester Holt and Matt Lauer in Russia.
“It’s kind of enough for me to see them,” she said.