I have to admit that I’m pretty star-struck. I’m halfway through Day 1 of the 2012 Team USA Media Summit in Dallas, and I’ve been able to interview several gold-medal contenders. Not only am I surrounded by competitors in the single largest international sporting event, but I’m also working alongside media professionals from all over the country.

During the first event of the day, I interviewed shot-put champion Jillian Camarena-Williams. One of the aspects that stood out most during my interview with Camarena-Williams was her nails—all are painted hot pink with the exception of her right index finger, which is painted gold.  Camarena-Williams explained that the gold on her “No.1” finger is a reminder of what she’s working toward.

Although I certainly won’t be competing in the Olympic Games anytime soon, I can relate to Camarena-Williams in terms of working toward a specific (and sometimes seemingly unachievable) goal. Working alongside media professionals from the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, Twitter and more is completely and utterly nerve-racking.

But in the same way that Camarena-Williams is constantly reminding herself of her Olympic goal with her nails, this opportunity to network with both athletes and media professionals is a reminder that my goals to succeed in the field of journalism are within reach.

With all the opportunities with which I have already been presented in the past 24 hours, my goal is getting that much closer to becoming a reality.

Emily Thompson  |  Features Reporter