It hardly seems possible that 8 years ago this summer the UK hosted the 2012 Olympic Games. A once in a lifetime opportunity came my way-volunteering as a ‘Gamesmaker’ for the games. Fortunately for me the Olympic Sailing event was held just 30 miles away from my home. After a recruitment process including a telephone interview I was asked to take part in the pre-Olympic sailing regatta held in Portland. I was excited to be assigned to the ‘Olympic’ news service.
For your information every nation hosting the games has to set up an ‘Olympic’ news service to provide newsfeed for the many press and journalists covering the event. The purpose being to support journalists assigned to cover an event outside their speciality. Imagine a Japanese journalist an expert in wrestling suddenly gets a call ‘Get down to Portland-the Japanese team is doing unexpectedly well and we need you to cover that event right away. Armed with the information and press releases from the Olympic news service the Wrestling Correspondent is now able to report on the Japanese team.
Attending the pre-Olympic event as part of the ‘practise ‘ event as part of the news service was immense fun -imagine interviewing athletes like the now Sir Ben Ainslie -one of my interview reports was even picked up by a UK National newspaper.
Leap forward to the actual Olympic Sailing event I was so disappointed to be appointed to marshal and control the Press line up (in my mind a sort of ‘bouncer’ role). So instead of the plum role of being an interviewer I was asked to basically be a security guard making sure that the Press line-up was orderly and controlled.
At this with my dreams shattered I almost gave up on being a Gamesmaker until a wise person reminded me that it may not be the opportunity I want but as the Olympic Games were unlikely to be hosted again by the UK in my lifetime it was this or nothing. Recognising this I became determined to make this ‘limited’ opportunity my own.
So as the athletes (sailors to me and you) returned from the water I would greet them with a smile and handshake and spend a few minutes talking about how the race. The reporters and Correspondents saw this and asked for my help to organise interviews. In particular a little know athlete Pavlos Kontides(Silver Medallist Men’s Laser Class) won the first ever Olympic medal for the Island of Cyprus, but hardly any journalist knew who he was but I did and with his permission introduced him to the Press who wanted to interview this special man.
Added to this we got to take turns meeting with the medallists’ in the ‘green room when they were waiting for their medal ceremony and once this was over drive them in golf buggies through the Olympic Village to their Press conference. I even got to hold the medals in my hands and can say I have held a ‘gold, silver and Bronze’ Olympic medal.
Nice story but what is the point you are making-well it is simply this -life may not give you the exact opportunities you dream of but don’t despair grab every opportunity you never know maybe you will ‘hold’ a gold medal in your hands one day.
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