Richard Perry

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London 2012 Rosie & George Playing on...

Life as a Games Maker

  |     |   London, Olympics, Events

Over the last two weeks or so, you may have been aware of a small sporting event taking place mainly in London known as the Olympic Games. Well I volunteered to work at the Games and was fortunate enough to be accepted as one of the 70,000 Games Makers who would be a huge part of making the Games happen.

My Games began on Monday 30 July so I was able to watch the opening ceremony from the comfort of my own sofa  :smiley:. I left for London on the afternoon of 29 July to make my new home at Blackheath Rugby Club courtesy of Camping Ninja. Check In was relatively simple so once my tent was up I was able to get an early night ready for my first day at the ExCeL Centre.

My first three days were morning shifts starting at the area known as the Hub (i.e. the main hive of activity between Custom House DLR Station and the main entrance to the ExCeL Centre). After meeting up with a number of other new Games Makers and being issued our pink hi-vis vests, we were ready to start. My role basically involved smiling a lot, assist the signage in directing spectators to the main entrance and answering any and all questions asked to the best of my ability. Now I’m not really too familiar with the Docklands area of London, but after endless questions along the lines of:

  • Where do I find …;
  • How do I get to …;
  • Is there a … near here etc.

I began to get acquainted with the area fairly quickly. As much as it seems this would be a very boring experience, it was far from it. In the first three days, I met people from all over the world who were extremely excited and enthusiastic about the Olympic Games. Working among that level of excitement and enthusiasm makes it very difficult for anyone to be bored, we even got the opportunity to ‘borrow’ some empty seats in the fencing arena after shift one day :wink:. At the end of my first three days, I was quite tired but I did have an amazing time :smiley:.

My first day off brought me back to Wales to visit Rosie & George and to chill out a bit. It was great to see them both again, but I was soon on my way back to London for my next three days. This time I was on afternoon shifts so I decided to make the most of the extra time I had by visiting the ExCeL centre to watch more of the events taking place there (and maybe get a sneaky extra meal voucher for lunch to save some cash :wink:)

I spent my next day off in London on my own, so, bearing in mind I  had no chance of getting into the Olympic Park, I decided to go hunting Harry Potter filming locations in central London (it also meant I got to make full use of my Games Maker Oyster Card :stuck_out_tongue:. I also tried to get into Hyde Park to watch some of the Games on the big screen, but the rain put me off a bit.

The second week continued in much the same vein as the last, standing on various street corners directing, chatting and laughing with people from all over the world… so it was obviously brilliant! I managed to confuse some Mongolians by greeting them in Mongolian, followed by telling the story of our wild adventures in Mongolia. The best thing about being able to greet people in their own language had to be the looks on their faces when they realise what you have said. It’s certainly a good conversation starter :wink: (even if that conversation does take place in English).

Rosie and George joined me in London for my last three days meaning I got to move out of the tent and into a hotel :smiley:. We visited Kew Gardens on my day off, but it wasn’t as relaxing as I’d hoped. Unfortunately all this standing around for hours and hours every day was starting to take a toll on the soles of my feet so I was starting to suffer a bit by the end of the day.

The whole experience was absolutely magical and from the moment I started, right to the end, I was having a good time (yes, even the slow times at the boring locations) and I am immensely proud to have been involved! It was a fantastic experience and I am very glad I was a part of the London 2012 Olympic Games, although I now wish I could help out at the Paralympic Games as well. It certainly helps that I was able to see a fair bit of sport from some tidy ‘borrowed’ seats in the ExCeL Centre itself :smiley:.

So who’s up for Rio 2016? Only kidding (I think)

Copyright © Sterling Vann
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