‘BoniBlog – Keogh keeping up with crazy pace

There’s a constant coming-and-going in the Canadian Olympic Committee’s office at the Main Press Centre with Steve Keogh always a man in a hurry.

Steve Keogh

He finishes with one chat, heads to another, darts back into his office, emerges to address another demand.
He comes from Ottawa, where part of his development in the field of sports communication came under Phil Legault with the Ottawa Senators. He now lives in Toronto after leaving his post with the Sens to join the COC.
This is Keogh’s fifth Olympics, with a different role for each. At these Vancouver Games, he’s the COC’s director of communications leading “our team communications, our press attachés, our web site, our corporate communications, all of our communications efforts at these Games.”
I’ve known Steve since his days with the Sens and regarded him then, as I do know, as an astute, energetic and understanding individual when it comes to the very fine line of making athletes available to the media.
“Of course, it’s the biggest sporting event in the world so you have thousands of media looking to get to our athletes,” he says. “First and foremost, the Canadian team is here to perform, so that’s our first goal. But part of our mandate is also to promote the Olympic movement.
“And this is a great opportunity to promote the Olympic movement — that’s where we come in. We have our Olympic prep department that is there for the athletes, csreful not to infringe upon their training, preparation and performance, ultimately at the Games. We have a great opportunity — it’s just finding that balance here – meeting the needs of the media, meeting the needs of the athletes and getting our message out — some amazing stories, as we know, from these Games.”
There’s a constant rush-hour feel about the procedure, particularly when medals are won. Fortunately, Keogh isn’t alone in attempting to keep things in order as much as possible.
“When all is said and done we’re approximately 35 people,” he says. “Most are volunteers, of course, who are assigned to the different teams as attachés or working with our web site or working with our office management. We have five different offices in and around Vancouver and Whistler.
“We’re in a whole new world here because we’re hosting the Games. We have a lot more responsibility not just to the accredited but to the non-accredited media — so that’s a big component of what we do. And there’s the whole developing world of social media and on-line. Every Games is hitting a new level of interaction with the media, the fans and your own team.”
Okay, Steve, how much sleep are you getting?
“Anywhere from three and six hours usually a night,” he says.
Slightly sleep deprived and weary, yes. But it’s a thrilling, exhilarating time enhanced by an extremely rewarding bonus.
“I’m living in the Olympic Village which is a real treat,” Keogh says. “It’s right across the water from BC Place at False Creek. It’s very special. It’s great to be there. One of the most fun things for me to do during the day doesn’t last long. It’s in the morning when I go to breakfast and see all the athletes in the dining hall — that’s a thrill.
“Because I used to work for the Ottawa Senators I know guys like Daniel Alfredsson, Marian Hossa, Martin Havlat. Now I see all these guys and they’re all representing different teams. When everyone’s eating in the dining halls, it’s special … a really, really neat perspective that most people don’t get to see. I find that’s actually one of the most special things of the Games: Seeing all the athletes together.”
Halfway through the 2010 Games, Keogh’s work is far from done as performances yet to come will dictate the craziness yet ahead.