A Johnson City woman is getting a front seat view of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. She has been in London since May, and has been helping to get the city prepared for this monumental event.
Ava Jones is doing an internship at the Olympics this summer. She is a student at the University of South Carolina, where she is majoring in sports management.
“The experience of being at the Olympics is like nothing else,” she said. “I’ve been to major sporting events before, but nothing like this.”
Jones was born and raised in Johnson City. She attended St. Mary’s Catholic School, and then finished her high school education at Science Hill. She moved to Columbia, S.C., last fall to attend college.
USC contracted with a company called Cleanevent two years ago and took 10 interns to work at the Vancouver Olympics. Following those games, Cleanevent was so impressed they asked for 50 more interns to help them in London.
The first day Jones was on campus, she knew she wanted to be in London this summer. She talked to her internship director and said, “I’m going to London this summer, how do I make that happen?”
So the internship director laid out a plan for her, and if she met all the requirements so she would be able to be a part of the Olympics. One of the requirements included taking extra classes. Jones took those classes, and it will pay off for her in the long run.
Jones just completed her first year at USC. All the extra classes she took to be eligible for the internship combined with the advanced coursework she took at Science Hill puts her in the middle of her third year, credit wise.
This is not the first major sporting event in which Jones has done an internship. She worked at this year’s Masters golf tournament and also worked at the Indianapolis 500. Even while working at the sporting events, there are some drawbacks to the job.
“Unfortunately, I haven’t met any of the athletes,” she said. “I’ve been around them all the time, but I’ve never personally met any of them yet.”
Cleanevent is in charge of cleaning most of the venues involved with the games. Jones is a part of the administrative team, and works at the Riverbank arena where field hockey is being played. She works at the help desk, and recently she has taken on more responsibility for the company.
She doesn’t have immediate plans for when she graduates. The Olympics could be in her future, though.
“I don’t have any guaranteed plans for after college because I still have three years left, but I have made some pretty good connections and have had a few offers here and there, but unfortunately I can’t take any of them yet,” Jones said. “I do know, however, that my ultimate career goal is to be logistics coordinator for the Olympics and move around from site to site working for six years, doing the pre-planning, execution and two-year wrap-up of the games, and then move on to the next Olympic city and do the same.”
Jones will return to Johnson City on Aug. 16, and will have approximately a day before she leaves and returns to South Carolina. When she gets home, she will start working toward going to Sochi, Russia, for the 2014 Winter Olympics. She probably will not return to Johnson City after she graduates because she wants to travel and live abroad.
This was a big opportunity for her, but she credits other people for making this opportunity happen.
“This has been such an incredible experience I really can’t describe it,” Jones said. “I’ve been so privileged in getting to come and work at such an amazing event, and I really owe it all to my parents. Though I’ve had all of my friends and family encouraging and supporting me this whole time, I wouldn’t be here without the help from my parents, and I really cannot thank them enough for giving me all the help and support I needed in order to come.”