Olympic concessions

Carin DeMilo participated in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and the 2002 winter games in Salt Lake City.

She didn't soar over a snow-covered mountain with boards strapped to her feet, or win a medal for fabulous feats in a swimming pool. DeMilo, a 1993 graduate of RIT's food, hotel and tourism management program, was "area food service manager" for the games, which means she helped design and organize food service concessions for 10 competition venues and five non-competition sites at the Salt Lake City games. Her customers were thousands of volunteers, staff, sponsors, media, spectators and athletes.

It's the sort of job she loves best. She has built a career serving the throngs that attend the Olympics and other major international competitions.

"We're called event junkies," says DeMilo.

It all began when DeMilo was still at RIT, on a co-op job working behind the scenes at the '93 World University Games in Buffalo. In 1994, she worked on the World Cup Soccer competition in San Francisco and then moved to Park City, Utah, to help a friend open a restaurant. By the time she went to Atlanta for the '96 games, she knew Salt Lake City would host the 2002 games. When she went to Sydney two years later, she was already working for the Salt Lake Organizing Committee.

She starting working on venue design for Salt Lake City in October 1999. Once the games began in February, she was stationed at Utah Olympic Park, site of the luge, skeleton, bobsled, Nordic combined and ski jumping competitions. At peak periods, the site was jammed with 20,000 spectators. A typical day began at 3 a.m., and sometimes continued till midnight. "It was a very active site," she says. "I had a staff of 62, plus two assistants."

She was too busy to see the events, and, she adds, "I don't get star-struck by athletes." After all, she lives in Park City, where many top athletes live and train.

When the games were over, DeMilo's work wasn't finished. For the next two months, she wrapped up the paperwork. What's next?

The 2004 Olypmic Games in Greece aren't far off. She has signed on to do food service for the Athens committee. "The work is really fun," she says. "It's the Olympics, and everyone is watching."

The University Magazine, Fall 2002