To have been involved as a Volunteer at the London 2012 Olympics was an amazing experience. The phenomenal success of the Games, with the best medal haul since 1908, gave the whole country something to cheer about and was enjoyed by thousands of spectators from home and abroad. It’s clear to all, that our athletes responded to the fantastic support they were given.
I had the opportunity to talk to visitors whilst on duty at the Olympic Stadium and also chatted to many people whilst travelling to and from The Olympic Park. All were enthusiastic in their praise of the venues, the organisation, the beautiful wild flower meadows and also of the help provided by the Volunteers. I met visitors from France, Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden, China and Germany and even had the chance to practise my language skills!
There was great camaraderie amongst the Games Makers who came from all over the country and many lasting friendships have been formed. I travelled daily with one ‘new’ friend – meeting her at 4.40 am to get first the tube from Hammersmith to King’s Cross St Pancras and then the Javelin Train to Stratford International to arrive at Olympic Park in time for our 6.15 am start. As members of the Event Services Team at the Olympic Stadium our roles included welcoming spectators, checking tickets and accreditation, giving directions around the Stadium and the Park and seeing people to their seats. The former Head of Security at Aston University looked somewhat surprised when he realised who was scanning his ticket!
After my shift on 4 August, I was unbelievably lucky to have tickets for the Athletics session when Jessica Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farrar all won Gold Medals! I can’t begin to describe the atmosphere in the Stadium or the noise made by spectators but it was incredible and very emotional! I was also on duty in the Olympic Stadium for the Closing Ceremony – another fantastic experience.
I feel privileged and proud to have been part of this wonderful British event - a never-to-be-forgotten experience and am grateful for the support of Aston University.
Words by Rita Woods