Thursday 1 December 2011

Making the Games

I was living in Brazil when I saw the announcement that London had won its bid to host the Olympic Games in 2012. I was overjoyed. For some reason it made me feel very warm and fuzzy inside and it was nothing to do with the 40 degree heat.

There's no denying the magic of the Olympics. It's not just the physical and mental journeys you take on your couch with those seemingly super human athletes who go for glory; there are also the stories of a wider human spirit. The courage to jump/swim/run/spin for your country knowing you don't really know what you're doing makes heroes and names as big as those with gold medals around their necks.

And each country brings their own touches to the games. That Chinese opening ceremony in 2008 is unforgettable; the backdrop to the triathlon in Sydney in 2000 memorable. The London 2012 posters already make me tingle for what this great city might muster up and what the culture festival it is going to throw in for good measure throughout the build-up and afterwards as well.

A couple of weeks ago I had an interview to be a Games Maker, one of the 70,000 volunteers which are needed to make the Olympic Games, well, flow. I had kind of lost hope of an interview, so was delighted when I got the email and excited to go along to LOCOG, it's 19th floor office in Canary Wharf and take part in the process.

Actually, it was more than a process, more than an interview. It was a little journey in itself. If, through the introductions, the enthusiastic sign in, the displays and videos on London 2012 and the film with Eddie Izzard giving us some interview tips, you weren't excited to show why you wanted to help out, then you really were in the wrong place. It was colourful, informative, creative and fun.

The interviewers are volunteers themselves and it's all very informal and natural. They are not interested in how many GCSEs you've got, how much you earn and your vast experience in teaching/telecommunications/trading. They simply want to know you. It was a very refreshing interview.

Stories of inspiration and perspiration still featured, but they didn't have to include those corporate buzz words. My interviewer (and I heard others) was laughing as we talked through my examples. They need people people for the spectator entry task and we simply had to show that; and a whole lot of heart for the Olympic Games.

Whether I get through of not remains to be seen, but what I am pleased about is that I got to be part of a mini Olympics London 2012 journey and glimpse at what they have done, are doing and what is to come.

The road to 2012 has been a very long one for many. And I loved the one step  I have been able to take on it so far.

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