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IU alumnus creates viral sensation with singing mic checks at Winter Olympics


IU alumnus Adam Kiefer poses Feb. 5 in the Gangwon Press Conference Room in the Main Press Center in PyeongChang, South Korea. Kiefer has gained international attention for his musical performances during mic checks at the 2018 Winter Olympics.  Courtesy Photo Buy Photos

Adam Kiefer watched the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London from his parents’ bedroom in Fishers, Indiana.

He watched as British author J.K. Rowling read from J.M. Barrie’s "Peter Pan," and Kiefer decided he had to go to the Olympics.

Now, the 22-year-old is making a name for himself during the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

The 2017 IU graduate became a viral sensation following his rendition of Pink’s "Just Give Me a Reason” during a mic check prior to a press conference for the Canadian women’s hockey team on Feb. 9.

“I had no idea anyone was filming,” Kiefer said. “It didn’t feel like a high-pressure situation.”

Kiefer, a former IDS employee, works at the Main Press Center in PyeongChang, helping to book and manage four press rooms.

“I’m on the ground making sure it all runs smoothly,” Kiefer said.

However, this isn’t Kiefer’s first experience at an Olympics.

He volunteered for 16 days near the end of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, working at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Golf Course as part of the photo operations team.

“It was mainly being available to help people like photographers,” Kiefer said. “Where they can be positioned and such.”

Kiefer said as soon as the women’s golf event ended in the 2016 Olympics, he took a bus and a plane back to Indiana and was in a journalism class at IU the next day.

According to Kiefer, he googled how to volunteer at the Olympics and went to a link to apply for the opportunity in 2016. But for his current job, Kiefer said he emailed the director of the main press center for the 2018 Olympics.

After graduating from IU in 2017, Kiefer kept his schedule open for early 2018 to make sure he could work at the Olympics.

But he didn’t expect to receive media attention from as far away as Asia and Europe while fulfilling his media center duties.

“My Facebook is a little crazy right now,” Kiefer said.

After his initial mic check performance a week ago, Kiefer said he now receives requests to sing.

“Sometimes I’ll oblige if the crowd feels right,” Kiefer said.

There isn’t a set list of songs Kiefer performs. From Pink to the Christmas carol "Silent Night," Kiefer said he sings whatever pops into his head.

“I do think its brought people a lot of fun,” Kiefer said. “The whole point was to spread joy.”

Unlike his first Olympics experience, Kiefer will be in South Korea for the entirety of the Olympics and the Paralympic Games, which run through the end of March.

Kiefer said he didn’t know how to speak any Korean before arriving for the Olympics, but he’s learned a few key words after arriving.

Although there is more than a month left in his current stay abroad, Kiefer is already looking ahead to the future.

He said he plans to return to Indiana after the Olympics finish, and would like to become a wedding photographer. 

But he also plans to keep working at future Olympics.

“I’m definitely shooting for Tokyo 2022,” Kiefer said.  

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