SDSU student has ‘experience of a lifetime’ at 2016 Summer Olympics


by Julianna Ress, Staff Writer

College is often considered a time for growth, learning to be responsible and figuring out what people want to do for the rest of their lives. But it can also be a good time to take a leap of faith and do something some might consider a little crazy.

This summer, international business junior Drew Danzeisen created his own opportunity. He quit his day job to network for a week at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“I want to work for the Olympics,” Danzeisen said. “I’d rather quit my restaurant job here and go down to Rio and have the experience of my life.”

Danzeisen is also the president of the Sports Business Initiative at San Diego State. His career goal is to be a part of the marketing commission for the International Olympic Committee.

“I love sports and I love getting around and traveling,” Danzeisen said. “The Olympics is sports and travel. It’s bringing athletes from all over and people from all over to one place, showcasing the best cities in the world.”

Danzeisen’s friends and family were not exactly thrilled about him going to Rio.

“My friends thought I was crazy for going down there by myself,” Danzeisen said. “My family thought I was crazy too just because they saw all the headlines (about Rio) and how the media was crushing the city, so they wanted me to back out of it.”

When he arrived in Rio, Danzeisen’s main priority was networking.

“(I wanted to) work toward a career path and find connections to help out my future,” he said.

Before traveling, Danzeisen used LinkedIn to research relevant people who would be in Rio and began networking for helpful contacts.

By doing so he was able to get on the media buses for transportation, attend the opening ceremony and attend two news conferences, one for the president of the International Olympic Committee and one for the United States men’s basketball team.

“The opening ceremony, being inside there gave me the chills, just being a part of that and witnessing an event of that extremity,” Danzeisen said.

Paul George of the Indiana Pacers gave the SDSU Sports Business Initiative a shoutout after Danzeisen met him at a news conference.

“They let the basketball team spread out and talk individually,” Danzeisen said. “So people could go up to them and shake their hand.”

Now after hearing of his experiences and success in Rio, Danzeisen’s friends and family admire that he went.

“They’re pretty impressed with what I did in a week and how I found my way into things,” Danzeisen said.

Journalism junior Tyler Stoop was inspired by Danzeisen’s determination in following his dreams.

“(Danzeisen) knows that his entire life will be about the Olympics. His experience was enough to influence the rest of his life,” Stoop said.

“If he didn’t follow his passion down to Rio, he’d never know,” he said.

Danzeisen said he wishes he could have stayed in Rio for the entirety of the Olympics, but what he accomplished in the one week he was there made the trip worthwhile for him.

“I’m probably not going to miss another Olympics for the rest of my life,” Danzeisen said.