By Alexandria Kane, Guest Writer &
Roderick M. Wilbon, Sports Editor
The Winter Olympics took place in the month of February, in which the United States women’s ice hockey team took the gold medal. They faced neighbor Canada, who was more so the favorite in the matchup. The win garnered a ton of media coverage and post-Olympic coverage, which is to be expected based off any great Olympic result. Some would ask the question though, “Did Olympic women’s figure skating garner any media attention remotely close to that of the ice hockey team?”
Michael Terry, communications manager for U.S. Figure Skating, began working in sports communication at the University of Georgia when he was an undergrad. There he stayed as a graduate assistant and then interned for USA Swimming in 2013 between graduate years. Terry went on to finish grad school in 2014, and was hired as the digital communications coordinator for U.S. Figure Skating. He performed well in his role, and in 2017 his boss left the organization. Terry performed so well that he was promoted to take over the position.
Terry spoke to University of Missouri-St. Louis students saying, “Figure skating is more a high-demand event among media members than women’s ice hockey at the Olympics.” He went on to say, “We fielded hundreds of requests for our ladies leading into the Olympics, and the members were on multiple magazine covers and national television shows.” Terry enjoys his job and his number one reminder is time management. “During the two-week period of the Olympics I received over 4000 emails,” said Terry. “I have to be able to quickly and effectively triage requests to keep everyone as satisfied as possible.”
U.S. Olympic women’s members finished mostly in the top 10 for single skate. They did take bronze in ice dance: free dance and bronze in the team event: ice dance free dance. Therefore, it is expected that the women’s ice hockey team would garner more post-Olympic coverage with the difference in results. Figure skating isn’t one of the top five sports in the world either, and most people don’t pay attention to it until the Winter Olympics.
Prior to Terry getting his first position with U.S. Figure Skating he said, “I had no history in figure skating, as a participant or as a fan.” Terry went on to say, “Ironically, that has helped me in this role because I can look at things objectively.” He is now a huge fan of the sport; impressed with the athleticism and mental strength needed to compete at a high level.
Terry’s job is very much about public relations as it is communication. Although U.S. Figure Skating offers communication internships, they are only geared for local students for class credit. He gave his advice for someone looking to get into public relations in sports. “Volunteer, intern, etc. as much as you can while you’re in school,” said Terry. “Make sure you enjoy sports somewhat and get the experience early to have a leg up on someone else applying for the same job.”