Out of the Box Thinking Part 2

From

Expect Miracles Series

by Lynn U Stewart


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1967, Grenoble, France

I was trained to be an elementary school teacher. I taught for four years, with the final two years at the Êcole Françaises, a bilingual French school in New York City. While there, I learned to ski and spent vivid weekends in Vermont.

As I taught at the Ėcole, my passion for France grew. It was 1967, and the year of the first televised Olympic games. A desire began to brew within me to travel to France and work for the Olympics. Being on a teacher’s salary, however, there was no way to underwrite that dream—I had to get creative.

My neighbor, David, was the producer on a TV show called Snap Judgment. After several conversations I convinced him to give me a chance to audition for his TV show.  I had an enchanted third meeting with “guest talent” was chosen. That magical day I won $1,000! When the check arrived, I headed for the United States cruise line and bought a one-way ticket to Cherbourg, France.

Upon arrival, I took the train to Grenoble; this was to be my home for the next six months. On registration day at the university, I met Jacques, a restaurateur for the Park Hotel—a wonderful 5-star in central Grenoble. Having met him by chance, he invited me for lunch at his hotel. Our connection was undeniable. He liked me, and I liked him. He became my Olympic angel.

Every week I would go to either lunch or dinner at the Park and confided my Olympic dream in him.  Louise, my housemate, always joined me (as the invitation was dining for two.) Jacques was always busy with guests; he asked me to bring a friend, and I gladly obliged.

One afternoon, Jacques informed me that the staff from ABC, the American television network, had arrived at the Park. Having written over 30 solicitation letters without reply, I knew my chances for getting a job with ABC were slim. I introduced myself to the VP in charge of personnel, Eric Calder. I told him about my skills and qualifications, and to my great surprise, he invited me for an interview.

I was hired as a translator and hostess for the press. I was in charge of getting the press to and from the village/mountains to their various destinations. I was to take care of their French needs. From gloves, to vans, to hamburgers, my responsibilities were to see that their every wish was my command. Jim Mckay, Chris Schenkel, Roone Arledge, and Red Buttons were in my charge and I loved every minute of every day. Serving and supporting veteran Olympic stars and interviewers make their TV magic was my job description.

What I learned during that period was, “If I could dream it, I could do it!”  I made the seemingly impossible happen. I simply kept on going amid the “No’s” and the unresponsiveness of the Grenoble hospitality. I was determined to find my way into serving the Olympics.  Watching Jean Claude Keelie receive his gold medals changed my life.  The Grenoble Olympics launched my belief in serendipity, synchronicity, and causality.

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