RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Members of Team USA are proudly wearing their red, white and blue at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games in South Korea, and many of their uniforms have a Richmond connection.
Jennifer Nelson, a 2016 graduate of the Center for Sport Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), volunteered at the United States Olympic Committee’s (USOC) Team Processing Center.
“This Olympics has changed my life,” she told 8News Anchor Amy Lacey over FaceTime today.
Nelson explains she helped to outfit the 244 members of Team USA as soon as they arrived at the Olympics. She first became interested in volunteering with Team USA Processing while still at the VCU Center for Sport Leadership, a graduate school program which develops students to work in the sport industry.
“I got to interact with all the athletes before they headed over to the mountains,” she said.
A highlight for the avid snowboarder was connecting with Kelly Clark, a five-time Olympian and gold medalist halfpipe snowboarder.
“That was a really neat experience for me.”
A new favorite of hers is halfpipe skier Alex Ferreira, who is making his Olympics debut.
“He was so down to earth and very genuine,” she describes. “The next day he actually came back and he was there for me and he brought me a bottle of wine to thank me for helping him.”
Her work fitting athletes with their uniforms is over now, so Nelson is transitioning from staff to spectator.
She says being in South Korea was her own version of Olympic gold.
“Go USA,” she cheers.