Social-media ‘Olympians’ to represent Sacramento at Vancouver Games
Sacramento’s two “Olympians” leave Wednesday for the Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia. Their events? Blogging, vlogging and tweeting.
Karl Alexander, 35, and Jeremiah Mayhew, 26 – who call themselves Team Kinetic – are social-media-savvy colleagues who will participate in the Games as Samsung Mobile Explorers.
“We’re going for the gold,” says Mayhew.
“We’re stoked,” says Alexander. “We’re going there to represent Sacramento.”
“We’re still giddy,” Mayhew adds.
While in Canada, they’ll compete against four other Mobile Explorer teams attempting to become Ultimate Mobile Explorers. Along with the title comes a $24,000 grand prize, which they would share, and a yearlong free-lance blogger position with Samsung Electronics, the official wireless-communications sponsor of the Olympics.
(Fans can follow all five teams and vote at www.facebook.com/samsungusa.)
The five teams are off to Canada by virtue of producing the best video applications from among 134 entries.
Samsung is paying their expenses including airfare, food and lodging for 20 days, and providing them with “backstage” access to Olympic events, and outfitting them in official uniforms.
All 10 contestants received Samsung products to use during the competition and to keep afterward: a laptop computer, a high-definition camcorder, a DualView camera (with front and back LCD screens) and a Mythic mobile phone.
The Mobile Explorer project includes teams from China, South Korea, Russia and Canada, although the Americans are competing for a separate prize package.
“It’s a multimillion-dollar undertaking, says Jose Cardona, an executive with Samsung Electronics America. It’s Samsung’s largest investment at the Olympics in more than 20 years of involvement. What’s key for me is getting everyday people involved in the Olympics.”
The American teams will report on the sights and sounds of Vancouver, interview people on the streets (or slopes) and visit Olympic venues during competitions.
“I want to see if they’ll let us ride the bobsled,” Mayhew jokes.
They also face a series of surprise challenges.
“I don’t even know what they are. I’ve been asking,” says Cardona. “They will have five or six challenges, which will be announced the morning of, giving each team a level playing ground.”
The one he knows something about involves snowboarder Hannah Teter, halfpipe gold medalist at the 2006 Turin Games and a Samsung spokeswoman, and her Hannah’s Gold charity.
Throughout the Games, Mobile Explorer teams will be judged on communications skills, creativity, originality, on-air personality and social-media networking capabilities. Votes from their fan bases will help catapult them to a win.
Team Kinetic’s Olympic adventure began in December, when Mayhew found an announcement of the Mobile Explorer contest on craigslist.
“It was like they were talking to us,” he says.
“We hit the ground running, putting together a video, and now we’re going to the Olympics,” says Alexander, who has a degree in multimedia production and photography. He’s the creative director at Kinetic Illusions in midtown.
Mayhew is a musician who played with Middle Class Rut and other local bands. He’s also been on the road with All American Rejects and Social Distortion, shooting concert footage. At 14, he collected signatures to get a skateboard park built in Sacramento.
For their Mobile Explorer-winning video, he and Alexander took a camera atop a downtown parking garage, where they introduced themselves. They added images of themselves on skis, rock-climbing, on mountain bikes, running from a snorting elephant and adventuring in St. Croix, Puerto Rico and Sacramento.
“We want to meet Karl and Jeremiah. They seem like a great pair of guys,” says Cardona. “Based on their video and their personalities, I think they’ll do well. Their video had the most outdoor footage.
“Now it comes down to the challenges and their social-media skills, and their friends voting for them.”
The Winter Olympics open Friday and continue through Feb. 28. The winning Ultimate Mobile Explorer team will be announced on the final day.
Karl Alexander, left, and Jeremiah Mayhew record a video atop a downtown Sacramento parking garage last week to publicize their send-off party ahead of their trip to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. They’re competing in a blogging, video blogging and Twitter reporting gig sponsored by Samsung.