While some students were learning or working virtually over the past year, Syou Nam Thai ’23 had the unique opportunity to work for the Olympics with NBC. Thai, who is currently in his home city of Tokyo, received a position as a technical logistics assistant through a friend and Kenyon alumna. After giving the job a try, Thai enjoyed his experience and eventually decided to take an entire year away from Kenyon to continue his work at NBC, which holds all of the broadcasting rights for the Olympics. Though the Tokyo Olympics finished in August, Thai and his coworkers are continuing to pack up the remaining production equipment.
Before his experiences in Tokyo, Thai had already known that he wanted to work in film or television, but could have never predicted that he would be able to pursue these interests midway through his college career. In his first three years at Kenyon, Thai did technical work in the theater and helped build sets for many Kenyon productions.
While the summer Olympics were in session, Thai worked in technical logistics, and most of his daily operations consisted of working in a massive warehouse in the middle of Tokyo. “There were hundreds of millions of dollars worth of equipment in this warehouse that NBC needs to broadcast the entirety of the Olympics, including cameras, studio pieces, sets and lighting,” he said. Thai’s team managed inventory, and was responsible for the distribution of the equipment. Before the Olympics began, Thai and his team were working to ensure the production equipment was properly handled, but once the broadcasting began, Thai and his coworkers had plenty of free time to watch and enjoy the games.
But Thai’s work for NBC will not end in Tokyo. “NBC offered me a job to work at the Beijing Olympics, which is happening in about five months. So after this, we are headed right to Beijing to begin preparing for the 2022 Winter Olympics,” Thai said.
Although he is excited about his upcoming experiences at the Winter Olympics, Thai also misses Kenyon’s campus and being back at school with a full student body present. “It hit me a couple of weeks ago that I won’t graduate with my best friends, but taking a year off has been an eye-opening experience for me to see what kinds of jobs there are out there for me,” he said.
While taking time away from Kenyon, Thai has reflected on the importance of a college education and his growth as a student and a learner. “What you learn or what your major is in college doesn’t really matter. If we have the critical mind to be able to solve problems, that’s more important than anything else,” he said.