Chicago Olympics Opening Ceremony with Nicole Roames

This week on Desert Island Events, host Narmeen Kamran, speaks to Nicole Roames. Nicole is a senior meeting planner at Strategic Analysis Incorporated, certified Meeting Professional and first Vice President of Society of Government Meeting Professionals National Capital Chapter.  She started out in non-profit events as a volunteer, that then grew into permanent jobs with non-profit organisations. Latterly Nicole transitioned over to the government sector, where she now plans government meetings and events all over the US. 

Nicole’s dream event would be organizing an Olympic Opening Ceremony. Nicole remembers watching her first opening ceremony in 1992, where they lit the caldron with a flaming arrow which she recalls thinking there was nothing cooler than that. Chicago would be Nicole’s ideal location for her dream event and hopes this is something that will happen soon. Nicole emphasizes the complexity of opening ceremonies due to numerous elements which need to be taken into consideration, nevertheless, she states keeping the audience engaged would be her top priority. Nicole loves the fact that most of the opening ceremonies she has seen have always had a sense individuality to them and she wants to bring that to her event. As Chicago is a very foodie city, Nicole would want to include local establishments. She would place them in the middle, to allow the athletes to have something to experience while the parade of nations is taking place. 

Nicole would select Solider Field as the venue for the ceremony. She has mentioned that the team who currently play there, The Bears, sold bits of grass to the fans when the ground needed returfing and did the same with the old chairs. Nicole thinks this would be a really good idea for fans to own a part of the infrastructure when parts of the venue are being dismantled after the games are over. 

The entertainment would involve music and many comedians mingling with athletes as they enter during the parade. Nicole would also like to use new technology, like drones, in the opening ceremony, as it has advanced so much in recent years. Spreading out the event to different parts of the city would also be appealing to Nicole and her vision. 

The colour scheme of the event would include the American flag, red, white and blue but Nicole states she would stick with the original Olympic colours as well. 

The entertainment would be a mixture of artists from all age ranges, to appeal to everyone watching. Nicole mentions AJR Brothers, Dianna Ross and Taylor Swift, however she does state she would love to have Jack Johnston there, however acknowledges that he may not be the vibe she’s going for. She would also love to see Weezer as she is a big fan. Dan Aykroyd, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and John Mulaney would be Nicole’s top picks as comedians for her event. She wanted to represent Chicago with comedy from Dan Aykroyd.

Chicago has a vast foodie’s scene so Nicole wants to incorporate that into her event, which would include the famous Chicago deep dish pizza and hot dogs. This type of food is easy to carry around and she specifies that you don’t have to sit down to eat it. Narmeen suggests shooting boxed hot dogs with a “t-shirt canon” into the crowd for the attendees to catch and eat. 

VIP guests would include all the foreign delegation to represent their countries, such as, former Olympians.  Nicole would want to give out tickets to public school teachers in the city or police officers that don’t have to work the event. She wants to give tickets to people who would not have been able to afford or have access to get them. 

The closing ceremony is also discussed. Nicole points out that the closing ceremony would be on a smaller scale to tie up the whole Olympics. This ceremony would also be spread throughout all the athletic venues to honour the athletes instead of the city. It would then conclude in a specific area to lower the flag and put out the flame to honor the Olympic tradition.

 The torch relay would include Paralympian and high school athletes as they are the new emerging talent. Nicole emphasises any type of athlete can take part in the relay, especially youth athletes. 

Nicole hopes people will take away with them the fun and exciting elements of the event and wants people to be happy the Olympics was in Chicago, as people can often resent it in their home city. 

If Nicole was to win an Olympic Gold Medal it would be as a baton roller or, as she calls it, a bike that goes nowhere (aka a spin bike) would win her a medal. 

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Episode 16