Photos by Annette and Janice Lee
For two Pepperdine sisters, the Olympic games went well beyond the television screen. Pepperdine alumna of the Class of 2017 Annette and current junior Janice Lee had the opportunity to experience volunteering at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Annette Lee captioned her Instagram picture, “the face of pure joy … absolutely loving my time here at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics” to capture her volunteer experience.
A post shared by Annette Lee (@annettejlee) on
Along with her younger sister Janice, the two spent February in South Korea to serve some of the world’s greatest athletes. Janice Lee worked with her professors to take the month off of school in order to volunteer.
“We’ve always wanted to go to the Olympics just to watch the events because I love figure skating and she loves snowboarding,” Janice Lee said. “But what are the odds to actually work together and be put in the same group? It was really special to experience that with her.”
Applying to be a volunteer more than a year ago, the Lee sisters were selected out of 105,000 applicants for the Olympic volunteer squad.
Janice Lee said their main responsibility was to prep the medals by ironing the ribbons and positioning them perfectly on the tray, including medals given to legendary United States Olympians snowboarder Shaun White and Alpine skier Lindsey Vonn (pictured below).
“We got to meet a lot of faces from all around the world and they’re just so happy to be here whether they are competing or not, whether they’re winning a medal or not,” Annette Lee said. “They’re just so happy to be at the Winter Games, because if you like sports this is the place to be.”
Originally from Chantilly, Virginia, the Lee sisters said they attracted the attention of various media outlets, including a Virginia-based Korean newspaper, a Latvian magazine and NBC’s Eun Yang.
Of all the places I might get recognized, I didn’t think Olympic Park would be one of them. Big thanks to @annettejlee and @janicelee016 for making my day, and sharing your #winterolympics adventure with me! #pyeongchang2018 #seoulsisters #koreanamerican #korea #olympics
A post shared by Eun Yang (@eunyangdc) on
Similar to Yang, Annette Lee said this experience has sentimental value for them, allowing them to experience their parents’ home country.
“As we’re growing up, we’re learning more and more about the Korean culture and we appreciated it more,” Janice Lee said. “It’s really cool to see where my parents grew up and what they experienced when they were younger.”
Despite being across the world, Annette and Janice Lee kept their friends and family at home updated with countless social media posts on Instagram and Snapchat. Social networking also allowed the sisters to stay in contact with their fellow volunteers from across the globe.
Janice Lee’s friend, junior Vivian Leung, said she loved being able to follow their adventures online.
“It was really cool because she FaceTimed us her ironing the medals and stuff,” Leung said. “I got a good picture of that, so that was really amazing.”
The Lee sisters said this was a life-changing experience where they were able to celebrate unity around the world. Although Janice and Annette Lee did not leave with a gold medal, they did leave with a golden experience.
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