- Olympic Zone
A different kind of Olympic pro reflects
BEND, Ore. - Christy McLeod is not an Olympic athlete. Her story is a little different, having worked on the Olympic games, not in them, like a competitor.
As a marketing professional with the International Olympic Committee, McLeod, now chief marketing officer for Bend Memorial Clinic, worked with sponsors, helping them bring their products to a worldwide stage.
McLeod says no matter who you are, the games are special.
"It all comes alive, when you see the athletes themselves doing their personal best," she said.
Some Olympic moments, like in 2002 in Salt Lake City, Utah she says will stay with her forever.
"Looking at a competitor's face the moment before the competition starts - that one moment before anything else happens - and from that point, it really doesn't matter what the results are," she said. "If you see people from around the world lined up to compete, it just blows your mind."
She says you might not be familiar with a sport, but suddenly you start learning about things and sports that you have no interest in, you don't know the rules for - yet you want to see the world's greatest at it, participating.
One day at the Sydney Olympics during the marathon event sticks out in her mind, and one injured competitor.
"He came to finish for his country, and that's what he wanted to do," she said. "And people stayed for an hour. As he entered the venue, people started clapping, and they stood up and they clapped."
She said they cheered for him as if he'd won.
"It's moments like that that you realize the Olympic spirit is real, and the Olympic spirit is powerful. And it's a rare time in my life," add McLeod "That I've gotten to experience celebrating people doing their personal best and the joy that they have in the effort of that."
McLeod has since settled in Bend with her husband and two boys, but she still carries the spirit of the games with her (and some souvenir Olympic Torches as well).
She says the work she did in the Olympics people will probably never see - and that really doesn't matter to her.
"I know I did my best, and I was lucky enough to work on a world stage." McLeod said. "It changes you, when you sit in a stadium and you see the cauldron lit at Opening Ceremonies. You see somebody from your country doing more than they ever thought they could do. It changes you as a person, and it stays with you."
McLeod says she hopes to attend another Olympic Games soon.