The Official Olympic Entourage

The people accompanying me during my Office Winter Games journey are a large part of what has made it memorable for me.

In the beginning, I had an entourage of six people following me around. (Photo: Roger, Rich, Brendan, Anthony and Krista)

In the end, I was down to just two.

I totally understand how those one-hit-wonder bands feel.


My experience would not have happened if it was not for Robin Cecola. He is a marketing consultant for Microsoft Office who drove the entire contest and acted as the intermediary between the United States Olympic Committee and me.

He is also the most connected person I know, having worked at Columbia Records for a number of years. Whenever we’d hit a roadblock, a light would come on and he’d confidently say, “Don’t worry. I know someone.”

I know a lot of people, too. The difference between Robin and me is his “someones” make “somethings” happen.

With Krista and Robin

Krista Ulatowski of Waggener Edstrom was my right-hand woman for seven days to keep me in check and on schedule. She is also a fashionista, classy, lovely and a fantastic publicist. I’m sure she knew I would be handful when, mere moments after we met, I somehow finagled a man-on-the-street camera team to interview me about my take on women’s hockey.

And yes, I think there should be fighting.

Publicist Natalie Blick joined me from Portland for my final three days. If I had to use two words to describe her, they would be “chatty and perky.” Of course, those also describe me. This just means no one around us was able to get a word in edgewise.

Anthony and Roger joined us for the first few days. Anthony is the larger-than-life Director of Microsoft Office Public Relations and Roger is a physical therapist.

I adored them both.

We affectionately nicknamed Anthony “The Godfather,” because that was his role in bringing the Microsoft Office ’10 contest to fruition. He’s passionate about the product launch in June and one of the great things about him is you always know exactly where you stand.

In his words: “I just say out loud what other people are already thinking.”

If it doesn’t work out to have Bonnie Blair as my new BFF, Roger would be my second choice. He was our delightful, humorous and doting Sherpa. Some of my fondest memories are introducing him to the Canadian treat Nanaimo Bars in the media center and his shopping frenzy at the Olympic Superstore where he bought 15 pairs of Olympic mittens.

The dude’s hands must get really cold.

Not to be forgotten is my film crew Rich and Brendan (otherwise known as “The Stalkers.”) For the first four days of my Olympic experience, they were assigned to capture my every move. Traveling with film makers is just like being with small children:

They have a lot of crap but at least no diapers.

At first, I was self-conscious about their presence but loosened up when I realized a film crew = power. Wherever we went, people would clamor to be in our background shots, trying to figure out if I was famous.

I didn’t attempt to convince them otherwise.

Rich and Brendan left on Tuesday. As we were saying our sweet good-byes, Rich expressed what a delight I was to work with and how much he’d miss me.

I then reminded him of the 100 hours of The Amber Show video footage he’d have to wade through.

He got over it.

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