By Mark Ambrogi
Reilly Small had heard the concerns about Rio being a dangerous place.
Small was undeterred, and she’s glad about it. She has not seen any problems since arriving in Rio on July 16 as part of Ball State at the Games. She is one of three students in the program from Carmel gathering behind-the-scenes multimedia content about the Olympic culture, Brazil, athletes and fans.
“There are military and policemen on every corner,” Small said. “I think that people shouldn’t let the scare of safety stop them from experiencing such an amazing place. As for Zika, I am not concerned at all. The chance of getting it is very small and I am only 19 and not looking at having kids any time soon. I don’t think the scare applies to me, but ask my mom, and she will tell you otherwise.”
Small, a 2015 University High School graduate and sophomore public relations major, is working on social media aspects of culture for Ball State at the Games, reporting on things that interest her, such as Brazilian coffee.
“The experience so far has been unreal,” Small said. “Since the second day here, I knew three weeks wouldn’t be enough.”
So, she worked with faculty to extend her stay until the end of the Olympics, which began Aug. 5.
“Not only am I learning a lot about the culture of Brazil, but I’m learning a lot that will help me in the future with my major and career,” Small said.
The other two students are Carmel High School graduates Vivien Pong, a senior Ball State telecommunications major, and Christian Schinbeckler, a video production major who is finishing up his final six credits to graduate this summer.
Schinbeckler, who left Aug. 2 and returns Aug. 19, will be doing reports from outside the venues.
He learned about the program as a freshman at an orientation about the group going to the 2012 London Olympics.
“My mom looked at me and said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to be sent to the Olympics to cover the Olympics?’” Schinbeckler said. “I’m a true sports and adrenaline junkie, and my cousin actually was a player (Boston Bruins’ John-Michael Liles) on the USA Hockey team that went to the (2006 winter) Olympic Games in Italy.”
Schinbeckler, who had an internship at the U.S. Olympics Committee in Colorado Springs, Colo., in the spring of 2015, will be doing coverage outside and wrap-up coverage, including athlete and fan profiles.
Schinbeckler said all his work in his four years at Ball State has been pointing toward this experience.
“It’s been a lifetime in the making as a sports fan and fan of video production,” Schinbeckler said.