Topic: College of Communication Information and Media
July 28, 2016
Senior Colin Grylls will join fellow student journalists, who will spend two weeks in Brazil covering the 2016 Summer Olympics.
When Colin Grylls was growing up, his father — world-class cyclist Dave Grylls — recounted stories about the hard work and dedication that propelled him to a silver medal in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
Now, the 24-year-old Ball State senior is using those lessons to build his career as a journalist. His hard work in the classroom and with various student publications has paid off with a role with a student-managed news operation that works with outside media organizations to produce original multimedia content about the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“The Olympics have always been a big deal in my family because of my dad and his cycling career,” said Grylls, of Chula Vista, California. “I guess that is why I got so interested in sports and want to do stories about athletes. There are so many great stories to tell.”
Dave Grylls, 58, was once one of the top track cyclists in the world. Long since retired, he won a silver medal in the men’s 4,000-meter team pursuit competition.
“I never saw my father as an athlete growing up because his career was over by the time I was born,” Colin Grylls said. “My dad has always been an engineer, and I feel that is about as opposite to sports as you can get. But he always shared his thoughts on things.”
Father and son have talked about the Olympics in recent months and what the event means to participants, spectators and the media.
“When I graduate, I want to get a job in sports reporting, and because of Ball State at the Games, I will have some great stories I can show to promote my work. My future employer can see that I’ve covered athletics at the highest level in the world for a major project.”
— Colin Grylls
“My wife, Gloria, and I are very enthusiastic about Colin’s opportunity to attend and cover the Olympic Games in Rio,” said the elder Grylls. “The key for us is that experiences cannot be explained or taught; they have to be lived. The Olympic Games are a key part and a foundation of who I am, how I see the world and the basis of how I reacted and raised my three boys.
“The games are much more than the sports and competitions. They are a gathering of the best individuals and groups at their chosen activities. Once the old bureaucrats are out of the way, it is a chance to see athletes, officials and media people as individuals with common goals,” he said.
“These goals are not just success at the moment — as symbolized by gold, silver or bronze — but goals of competition, awareness and communication. I know Colin will see and experience this, and thus come home with a better understanding of the world and people.”
The younger Grylls is part of an advance team of student journalists reporting on the culture of Brazil before the games’ Aug. 5 opening. He is doing stories on Brazilian food, customs, people and government.
He is also preparing to work with American Olympians.
“I’ve been selected as sports editor for the Ball State Daily News in the fall, and this experience will help me with that,” he said. “When I graduate, I want to get a job in sports reporting, and because of Ball State at the Games, I will have some great stories I can show to promote my work. My future employer can see that I’ve covered athletics at the highest level in the world for a major project.”
Resourcefulness is a key
Colin and the rest of the student journalists have become resourceful in their first few days in Brazil, which should enhance their reporting skills, said journalism instructor Ryan Sparrow, director of Ball State at the Games.
“There is so much more than simple journalism going on with this project,” he said. “They are being forced to be extremely resourceful to find sources and deal with the language barrier since some people here only speak Portuguese. If you can converse with someone on the street who doesn’t know English and you only know a few words of Portuguese, think how much easier life will be when you get back home.”
The elder Grylls also sees potential in his son’s efforts.
“We believe that this experience will work in multiple ways for Colin. First is the chance to participate at the Olympics through his chosen path of journalism. Second, see the world through the eyes of the participants, spectators, citizens of Brazil and a media person. Finally, a great resume/portfolio builder as a first step into a career.”