KINGSPORT, Tenn. - The Super Bowl is the single biggest television event of the year. Fox Network says it expects more than 100 million people to tune into the big game on Sunday. And everyone who does watch the game, will also see the work of a former Kingsport resident.
Sergei Prokhnevskiy is a motion graphic designer for Fox Sports. He's previously created graphics for their NFL, college football, World Series, UFC and World Cup coverage.
"I'm very passionate about sports," Prokhnevskiy tells News 5. "It's natural for me. It doesn't feel like work."
But the road to the top of the graphics world for Prokhnevskiy hasn't been easy. He was born in Kiev, Ukraine, but his family fled to the United States when he and his twin brother Vladimir were 12-years-old to avoid religious prosecution.
"We came to Kingsport and it definitely gave us a better life," he says.
"I remember when we were in the airport, we had 50 people show up," Vladimir Prokhnevskiy tells News 5. "There was so much love."
The twins didn't know much English when they arrived in the model city. One of their friends, Mike Wolfe, gave them a computer with the Adobe Premiere program and they both immediately gravitated towards it.
"We never had a computer before," Vladimir says. "We kept learning everything we could."
"We were able to, in a way, communicate through our graphics," Sergei says.
Other members of the community helped the family assimilate towards the American life style. Vladimir says random people would stop by their house to teach them English and bring them food.
The twins played soccer growing up in Ukraine, and found solace on the pitch at Sullivan South. They helped lead the Rebels to a regional championship in 2005, with Sergei setting the school record for goals in a season that year and Vladimir setting the record for assists.
"Soccer was our way of escaping reality and poverty," Vladimir says.
Now, Sergei has found a way to combine his two loves by working for Fox Sports.
"I get to work next to heavyweights of the industry," Sergei says.
His latest project at Fox is also his biggest. He's working alongside a team of designers to create Fox's Super Bowl graphics package.
"The Super Bowl package was a fun project," he says. "You definitely understand the weight of it."
We asked Sergei if he could give us a sneak peak at some of the graphics we may see on Super Bowl Sunday, but this is all he was able to tell us.
"Probably will see a lot of Cleetus the robot."
Sergei and Vladimir both tell us they wouldn't have been able to get to this point without the help of the First United Methodist Church and the Colonial Heights Presbyterian Church.
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