Mark Belloma, of Centerville, returned last week after an extended stay in Sochi, Russia where he helped to install lights from Oskaloosa-based Musco Lighting for the 2014 Winter Olympic games.
Belloma, who has worked for 15 years at Musco Lighting, said he made three trips to Sochi, with the first in September. He came home for one week each for Thanksgiving and for Christmas, but otherwise the rest of those days were spent in Sochi.
Belloma, 48, said he spent a total of 86 days in Sochi doing his part for the team effort to install temporary lighting for the Winter Olympic games.
“It wasn’t just me. It was a total team effort,” Belloma said about Musco Lighting’s approach to the Olympics in Sochi. “We had a bunch of Musco people over there.”
Belloma said part of his responsibilities while in Sochi were to coordinate and secure housing for his fellow Musco employees, work with the Olympic Broadcasting Committee, set up warehouse facilities and coordinating with venue managers for lighting installation.
“Once I got over there they said, ‘Here’s what we’re lighting. Here’s what we’re going to do,’” Belloma said. “‘And just make it happen.’”
Belloma said he faced obstacles like logistics, language barrier and getting the equipment to the venues.
“There were a lot of obstacles,” Belloma said. “It was difficult. It was definitely challenging. The language barrier was real tough.”
As it turned out, Belloma said, Musco Lighting ended up lighting every venue.
Part of Musco’s mission was to make the lighting bright enough for television coverage during the athletic events and during press conferences and the “mix zone” where athletes do TV interviews.
Some of what Musco Lighting took to Sochi complimented the existing lighting already in place, something Belloma called “legacy lighting,” which is good enough for spectators but not for television.