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July, 2019

CUA Senior Struck With “Olympic Fever”

By Mary McCarthy

Seda Ambartsumian at the Forbidden City.

Like many students, CUA politics major Seda Ambartsumian had a summer job this year. But unlike others, her summer job sent her on a business trip — to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Ambartsumian applied for summer jobs knowing she wanted to work in Russia, where her family currently resides. One of the positions she applied for was with Bosco Sport, the company that supplies all the uniforms for the Russian Olympic teams and arranges accommodations for the Russian athletes during the games. In February, Ambartsumian received a two-sentence letter from the company asking her to call for an interview.

When she arrived in Europe at the beginning of the summer and was interviewed by the CEO of the 5,000-employee company, he asked her what she wanted to do with Bosco Sport. Ambartsumian replied that it was her dream to go to the Olympics. He told her she was very lucky: She would be one of about 120 Bosco Sport employees going to Beijing for the games.

How does a young adult from the United States get a job with a Russian sporting goods company? Perhaps it is Ambartsumian’s grasp of several languages. Although she calls Potomac, Md., home and English is her native language, she grew up speaking both Russian and Armenian fluently. Her grandparents lived in the Republic of Guinea in West Africa, and she learned to speak French from them. She has also picked up conversational Italian through traveling, working at a Swiss summer camp and studying the language briefly.

Ambartsumian worked in Bosco Sport’s Russian offices at the beginning of the summer before going to Beijing in August. She arrived in China prior to the Olympics to acclimate herself, visit tourist attractions and try out restaurants in order to be able to make recommendations to Russian dignitaries and officials attending the events.

  Watching the game with family members of the U.S. basketball team. From left: Anne Kidd (mother of Jason Kidd), Ambartsumian, Sheryl Howard (mother of Dwight Howard) and Alani "La La" Vasquez (fiancee of Carmelo Anthony).

When she wasn’t working in hospitality for the company, she was free to attend any of the Olympic events. She went to the opening and closing ceremonies and saw many of the basketball, tennis, gymnastics and volleyball competitions.

She wrote an e-mail during the games, saying, “It’s ironic because I am always wearing Russia gear, but deep down I am supporting the U.S. athletes.”

One of her favorite experiences was being able to meet and spend time with the athletes and dignitaries in Beijing. She met the U.S. basketball “Redeem Team” and the U.S. soccer team. While touring the Great Wall of China she ran into many members of the U.S. men’s swim team (unfortunately Michael Phelps was not with them that day).

Ambartsumian has had many stories to share since returning to the States for her senior year of studies. “My friends say I’ve caught the ‘Olympic fever,’ ” she says.

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Last Revised 01-Oct-08 11:30 AM.