Emily Giambalvo graduated from the University of Georgia in 2018. Now just a few years later, she is in Tokyo covering the Olympics for The Washington Post.
While this is the first time Emily is covering the Olympics post-graduation, this actually marks the third olympic game she has worked at. While at UGA, Emily pursued a Sports Media Certificate through Grady College. This opportunity combined with her work for the student-run newspaper The Red & Black helped introduce her to the world of sports writing and reporting.
“I think that Grady sports program was what kind of opened my eyes to the fact that this could be a career,” she said. “Before that I don’t think I even really knew what a sports writer was, like I didn’t grow up reading sports journalism.”
An athlete herself, Emily was a gymnast for 15 years. It was a sport she loved competing in and a sport she loved watching, which has helped launch her into her current role as a reporter covering University of Maryland athletics for The Post. In Tokyo, she will be primarily covering the sport she’s grown up practicing.
“It’s just kind of like this dream to even be going to the Olympics and then also to be covering the Olympics,” she said.
Right now Emily says she is doing absolutely everything she can to prepare for the Olympic Games.
“It’s my first time doing this with The Washington Post and I don’t really know if this is the best way to do it but I’m just trying to be really proactive so I can have deeply reported stories in Tokyo,” she said.
This prep work includes brainstorming potential stories, researching all the American athletes and familiarizing herself with past contestants. While this is her first time covering the Games with The Post, Emily has a unique experience that she can look to — she has covered two Olympic-related games in the past for Grady.
In 2016, she covered the Paralympics Games with Grady College in Rio de Janeiro for the Associated Press. The following year, she covered the 2018 Winter Olympics with Grady in Pyeongchang, South Korea through TeamUSA.org. Over the course of three weeks, she helped produce more than 20 stories covering the mountain and snow sports from ice skating to snowboarding to hockey and more.
All of these roles eventually helped her land an internship with The Washington Post after graduation, which turned into a full time offer.
Emily particularly points to her experience with the Paralympics as something that makes her stand out to employers. “It was the thing that everyone asked about and almost started that snowball effect of just getting more and more opportunities so I’m a big, big advocate of what Grady does with sending students to the Olympics,” Emily said. “I think it’s just this really great way to get people unique experience that not a lot of other college students have.”
Because she’s covered the Olympics before as a student, Emily says she has a better idea of what she will be walking into. In fact, she said she finds herself wanting to prepare for the Tokyo games in the same way that her professor instructed her to for the 2018 games. That being said, the experience is different since a few years back when she was preparing as a student journalist.
“There’s just I guess a little more pressure to do a good job and to write stories that are Washington Post-quality stories,” she said. “And, you know, that’s kind of true with all aspects of my job, but I think The Post has historically done such a great job covering the Olympics so it’s really cool to be part of that, but you just kind of hope you can contribute to that good coverage,” she said.