By: Tyler Poslosky | BSU at the Games
Kaitlan Mitchell sat comfortably by her computer with her family at her side watching Team USA Field Hockey defeat Argentina 4-2 in the finals of the XVI Pan American Games last fall.
When the final horn sounded, Mitchell couldn’t believe what unfolded.
“At the end of it, Lauren Crandall, the captain, was running onto the field with the American flag in one hand and in the other hand, she’s holding up my shirt,” Mitchell said.
“It was one of those moments where chills were going up and down my back. I was crying. Completely surreal. I remember my friends and family just cuddling around my computer jumping up and down with tears, crying. I don’t cry, ever. It was a big deal.”
Mitchell, a Ball State University alum, was a four-year backfielder and midfielder for the Cardinals. Upon graduating in 2011 with a degree in journalism, she accepted an internship with USA Field Hockey, serving as both graphic designer and writer.
Her idea surfaced during the Pan American Games last October. It was the U.S.’s first chance to qualify for the Olympic Games in London.
“I was told to come up with a logo just in case we did win so they could put it on different pamphlets and things to hand out,” Mitchell said. “They made a bunch of shirts just in case, and what do you know, we end up beating Argentina [4-2].”
Mitchell wasn’t set on designing just one logo. Instead, she turned in five with the hopes of one being used.
The chosen design “exudes a modern vibe while still being within the tastes of a broad generation of field-hockey fans across the nation,” Mitchell said. “I brought in the Union Jack and placed it within the 2012 font as a tip of the hat to this year’s host country.
“The Olympic rings are a trademarked logo, so I had to be careful with the design. The layout of the sticks are used to frame the 2012 logo. The sticks create leading lines to establish further visual interest instead of the traditional circle logo.”
On June 24, the U.S. wrapped up its final preparation match before heading to London, and Mitchell was in store for another surprise.
“I just thought the logo was going to be on shirts,” Mitchell said. “I walked around and found it everywhere. It was mind-blowing. I saw it on pins, beer glasses, jackets, hats [and] backpacks. The Olympic team was announced wearing custom-made jerseys with my logo on it. It left me totally speechless. It was so [thrilling], a complete dream.”
Beth Maddox, Mitchell’s previous coach at Ball State, was thrilled to see one of her former players get such an amazing opportunity.
“She is so talented that I’m not surprised how amazing the logo is,” Maddox said. “Kaitlan is such an extraordinary person. She works hard and has a passion for the sport. We couldn’t be more proud of her.”
Given an opportunity of this significance right out of college wasn’t what Mitchell expected, but it certainly was a dream come true.
“I didn’t think I’d be doing something this big,” Mitchell said. “I had to work my way up, but it happened really quickly. …
“Just to think, coming out of college, designing a logo for the national team is wild.”
Tyler Poslosky is a senior journalism news major at Ball State University covering sports for BSU at the Games. Follow Tyler and the BSU team at @tylerposlosky, @bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.