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One of the judges for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, also just happens to be a travel agent — as well as an award-winning figure skater and international skating judge.
That would be Rob Rosenbluth, an account executive for Protravel International, who will be one of 19 people in the U.S. qualified to judge the Olympics, Protravel parent Travel Leaders Group said.
Rosenbluth has been pursuing parallel tracks in his personal and professional lives. On ice skating: his mother enrolled him in skating lessons when he was 3 years old "as a form of babysitting." By the age of 18, in 1981, he received his first judging appointment; he became an international judge in 1997 and an International Skating Union judge in 2001. On travel: he joined the family business, Rosenbluth International, in 1986 (he joined Protravel in 2009 as an account manager after several years of consulting work).
And, on occasion, his passions intersect. For example, Travel Leaders said, in 1998 he traveled as a judge with the first U.S. figure skating team to visit China. He was specifically selected to participate because Rosenbluth International had just opened an office there, and he was able to assist in facilitating logistics for the team.
Rosenbluth said he always used skating events to broaden his firsthand knowledge of hotels, often staying in multiple properties during an event as opposed to staying in the "official" competition hotel. "This has enabled me to build strong, long-lasting relationships within the travel industry that ultimately benefit my customers," he said.
His skating schedule has taken him to Sochi, Moscow, Tokyo, Osaka, Paris, Mexico City and cities throughout the U.S., said Priscilla Alexander, president of Protravel. "It's no wonder Rob has built a very loyal clientele that's appreciative of his counsel and highly informed recommendations."
Alexander said: "While everyone will certainly be cheering the figure skating competition at this year's games, all of us at Protravel will be eagerly anticipating the scores from our very own Rob Rosenbluth."
— Kate Rice