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This is a guest post by my friend Ann, an account of her experience as a Games Maker at the London Olympics 2012
Two years ago in the summer of 2010, I filled out an online application form to become a Games Maker at the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. Living in London for many years, and loving all kinds of sports, albeit from the comfort of my sofa, it was too good an opportunity to miss.
I soon learnt that nothing in this process happened quickly!
One year later in July 2011, I found myself at the Excel Centre in London for an interview. After an initial application by 250,000 people I was one of the lucky 100,000 to be selected.
Even though it was a volunteer role I haven’t had any kind of interview for at least 25 years, so I intended to do my ‘homework’ beforehand. However, as it turned out, the date of the interview, which had been arranged in April, fell a few days after a family bereavement. I swithered, should I change it? I decided to stick with it, but my mind wasn’t on the job in hand, and certainly no ‘homework’ was done. I came away thinking that was that, not expecting to hear from LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games) in October, as they had promised. I consoled myself with the fact that I had done my best in difficult circumstances.
October came and went ... no word. Friends who had had interviews at the same time, had received their congratulatory emails, welcoming them to the world of the Olympic Games Maker. They had their initial training day, still I heard nothing. Then out of the blue in March this year I was offered a position as a Games Maker at the Paralympics. I was thrilled and accepted without hesitation. I had managed to make it in to the final 70,000 selected.
One of the treats I enjoyed as a Games Maker was going to the dress rehearsal for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. It was to be my only visit inside the Olympic Stadium but it was worth it. The stadium was full and the atmosphere electric. It’s almost impossible to explain, but for me the best moment, my ‘goose bump’ moment, was when the rural idyll was destroyed by the onset of the industrial revolution. The chimney’s and foundries were raised to the beat of thousands of drummers. The sound was incredible, all around you and coming up through the floor. The Olympic rings were forged into existence before our eyes. So much was going on it was difficult at times to keep up. Cameos of characters made their way around the track, recreating moments of British history such as the Suffragettes, the Windrush and the Jarrow Crusade. All aspects of our heritage and all very poignant. They make us what we are today.
We didn’t see the full show ... sadly The Queen, James Bond and Mr Bean were nowhere to be seen ... but that didn’t detract from what we saw one iota.
Danny Boyle made an appearance asking us to “Save the Surprise”. It seems everyone did exactly that.
Once all this and the Olympics were over I was to have my chance to actually participate in this whole glorious summer of sport. More of that in my next installment!