Sport management senior Gracie Mensay had the unique experience of interning for an Olympic and Paralympic sport National Governing Body during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Here, Gracie shares what it’s like to work in the sports world and how her UCCS sport management degree prepared her for a career in the industry.
Q: Tell us about your internship with the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee? What does your position entail?
A: I am the Events and Programs intern at USA Triathlon. On the events side of my internship, I work on a number of things like sourcing rentals for events, trailer preparation, and putting on events. On the programs side I work on Splash n Dash (a youth multisport event) and making sure that the race directors have what they need, such as medals.
Q: What has your experience been like interning during the 2021 Tokyo Olympics?
A: It was a very cool experience to work for a National Governing Body (NGB) during the Olympics. Everyone in the office would be watching the Olympics while working. USA Triathlon specifically hosted a watch party for the women’s triathlon when Katie Zaferes won bronze and an another one when the mixed relay team won silver. While the Olympics were happening, USA Triathlon was also hosting several national championships which enhanced the experience working there because while the best of the best from around the world were competing in Tokyo, other amazing athletes were competing at national championships.
Q: What was your most memorable experience during the Olympic Games?
A: My most memorable experience during the Olympics was watching the Olympics every night with my family and yelling at the TV as if they could hear me telling them to go faster. Another memorable experience was going down to the Olympic and Paralympic Museum and taking part in their activities while the Olympics were being held.
Q: Why did you choose to study Sport Management at UCCS?
A: I chose to study sport management at UCCS because I was given the opportunity to watch the 2016 Olympic Trials and see athletes live out their dream of becoming an Olympian, and I knew that I wanted to be part of the process that makes that dream become a reality. I was also able to attend the Olympic Trials again this year which was very special experience for me because in 2016 I decided that sport management was what I wanted to pursue, and now five years later, I am about to graduate with my degree in sport management. And what a better place for UCCS to be located than in Olympic City USA and near so many pro teams.
Q: What is your dream career after graduation?
A: My dream career after graduation would to be CEO of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC), but I also know that won’t happen right after college so I would also enjoy working for the USOPC or a NGB in their events department.
Q: How is your sport management degree helping you reach your career goals?
A: My sport management degree is helping me reach my career goals because I am taking classes that are sport focused. I am learning from professors that have experience working in several areas of sport like Olympic, international, collegiate, and professional. We are also given opportunities to meet and network with professionals that work in the areas that we want to work in.
The teachers and the people who are working for the sport management program are the most important part of my experience because they want to see us succeed, so they work so hard to make sure that we have several classes that in different areas and have opportunities to network and speak with sport professionals.
Q: What would you tell someone who is interested in pursuing sport management as a career path?
A: Networking is key. Even if it might not be with the organization or sport you want to be a part of, they might know someone who does. It’s also great to have those connections for the future. Also, it’s important to intern. It is great to get experience and although the sport that you are working for in the future might be different from your internship, there are similarities and that is valuable.