Valencia High School graduate and sports broadcaster Alexa Shaw recently had the opportunity to showcase her talent as an on-air personality for NBC during the Olympics.
Shaw was part of the team of around 2,000 people who traveled to NBC Sports Headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, for this year’s Olympic coverage, much of which was done stateside due to COVID-19.
“We called it ‘The Summer Camp’ for 19 days because everybody was just on the grind with no days off,” Shaw said, adding that they spent that time working overnight shifts, eating, sleeping — and then doing it all over again.
Shaw’s coverage consisted mainly of recaps of that day’s Olympic coverage, which were primarily shown on NBC’s digital platforms and YouTube channels.
“Surprisingly, they did crazy well with millions of views, just because 1) events were happening when everyone was sleeping, and 2) when it comes to the Olympics, there’s so much going on that nowadays digital has taken over, so a lot of people are viewing those recaps to just take a look and get the quick snippet of everything that happened,” she said.
The opportunity to do Olympic coverage was one that only exemplified Shaw’s longtime love and passion for sports.
“I grew up in a sports family,” Shaw said. “I say my dad’s like a sports encyclopedia — he knows everything about sports — and my uncle was actually a high school football coach, so I grew up … going out to his games every Friday night as a kid.”
While Shaw stopped playing soccer after she tore both ACLs in high school, she said she knew she wanted to stay in sports, choosing at a young age to combine her passion for sports and love of talking by going into sports broadcasting, starting by simply interviewing some of her uncle’s players and loving it.
Shaw’s now been with NBC Sports Washington in D.C. since 2019 and spent last season as the pre- and post-game show host for the Washington Capitals hockey team.
“It’s been such a fun role, and I’ve loved it so much,” she said. “So, it was amazing to get the call from the higher-ups to go up to Stamford and do the Olympics. … (It) showed that they valued my work, even if I was a small part of the bigger role.”
Greg Hayes, who was Shaw’s soccer coach at Valencia High, said he was pleasantly surprised to see her when tuning into NBC’s Olympic coverage.
Busy with coaching, Hayes said he hadn’t had a lot of time to watch the Olympics and was looking to see what’d happened that day, finding the NBC’s “best of” coverage.
“It starts out with Alexa Shaw, and I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness. Way to go, Alexa’ — I literally said that out loud,” Hayes recalled. “It was not just that it was great to see her, but she was so good, and she was so herself.”
This comes as no surprise to Hayes, who remembers Shaw’s inspiring attitude following her early injuries in her high school sports career.
“To see her go through such a devastating injury but to respond with such a determined, hopeful, enthusiastic approach, with an infectious smile — even through the hardest times — you just couldn’t help but appreciate her and be inspired by her,” Hayes said, adding that she even continued to support the team through both ACL injuries.
It’s that impressive attitude that Hayes said he’s happy to see her express on camera, now with many thousands watching.
For Shaw, the Olympic experience was an amazing one and she was honored to be part of such a big production and team of people all working hard to provide in-depth coverage from 6,700 miles away.
“It was just an amazing experience getting to cover all these incredible athletes, tell their stories, and then, more importantly, be a part of something that unites everybody together around the globe,” Shaw added.