‘I Made London 2012!’

Adrian in Character

Adrian in Character as a Working Man in Pandemonium

 

GUEST POST:  ADRIAN MILNER

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1. What was your Olympic Volunteer Role and where?

I was a working man from the Victorian times. The Opening Ceremony in “Pandemonium“.

2. When did you volunteer?

I volunteered for 150 hours over 24 days starting at the beginning of May 2012 – mostly in the pouring rain. 1st at 3 Mills Studios – then at the old Ford Motor Factory in Dagenham and finally from June in the Olympic Stadium.

3. Describe your uniform

Distressed – grey corduroy trousers up to my nipples with belt – grey corduroy cloth cap – shirt covered in oil – cravat – black leather gloves – ripped black jacket – black steel toe capped boots and a sooty face. I was a working man from the Victorian times!

4. What did you do?

It varied – but all Working Men and Women in the Pandemonium sequence had to learn how to dismantle the “Green & Pleasant Land” set of the opening sequence. We needed to learn how to move fences – hedges – flowers – crops – and turf, LOTS of turf.

1200 of us were divided into counties from A-J. I was assigned Fife and we were located by the huge water wheel – in front of the press tribunes – near the mosh pit and the great bell (we called it the bell end – phnarr phnarr)!

We also had to learn choreography dreamed up by Toby Sedgewick the man behind all the choreography in War Horse. These moves were code-named: shovel pickaxe – sliding door – shut the boot – lever handles – chisel hammer. These had to be learnt and were quite elaborate – all had to be put together in a chain. We used this choreography during “Convergence” – when the Olympic rings were coming together.

5. What was your highlight?

Meeting so many wonderful people from London and all over the country and the world. It was such an honour being in the ceremony – to represent the country and this wonderful city of ours!

The day of the opening will remain with me forever – the walk down from our holding area at Eaton Manor (site of the Paralympic Tennis venue)  to the Olympic Stadium and seeing the Red Arrows fly over the Stadium. The world’s press clapping & taking pics of us.The noise coming from the stadium and the anticipation of the spectators – all of us booing when there was a slight shower outside the BBC Studio (fortunately it cleared for show time).

Waiting in the bowels of the stadium for our big moment and seeing Kenneth Branagh rehearse for one last time and then being on the stage & all the animals coming off the field of play. The tumultuous cheers when the rings went up. The gasps of the audience as the Queen said “Good evening Mr Bond”! Finally the walk back to Eaton Manor and seeing all the athletes starting to queue to go into the stadium – was wonderful! One of the happiest days of my life!

6. What did you gain?

Meeting so many people from different backgrounds and learning that I can do things when I put my mind to it. Also learning that it’s great to volunteer – the feeling of a sense of purpose.

7. Are you inspired to volunteer further?

I would look at it again but it is exhausting when you have a full-time job – I had no weekends for nearly 3 months!

8. What’s your lasting memory of the Olympics and Paralympics?

Joy – happiness – smiling faces – London and Britain putting on the best Olympic Games ever. Team GB inspiring the nation!

The proof that if governments invest long-term  – we can still be a great country (take note Cameron and Osborne). Realising that even though we are a tiny country we still have an influence in the world that outweighs our size and that we can be a force for good in the world!

Finally – the smell of the stadium will always be with me (akin to new carpet)!

 
Adrian Milner is my 4th Guest Post. He was a Performer in the Opening Ceremony. Over these coming years, I am featuring a number of Games Volunteers and Games Visitors talking about their experience of London 2012!

**Lord Sebastian Coe in his closing speech at The Olympics Closing Ceremony said all the Volunteers had the right to carry the phrase ‘I made London 2012′ as a badge of honour.

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‘A Games By Everyone!’

Mr Olympic Gee

Mr Gee in the Olympic Stadium / Photo courtesy of Mr Gee

 

GUEST POST:  MR GEE

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1. What Event/s Did You See?

I went to the stadium to see the Olympic Closing Ceremony and I saw the Men’s Olympic Marathon by Monument Station.

2. Who Did You Go With?

For the closing ceremony I was hanging out backstage with Russell Brand and met up with Ed Sheeran.

I went to see the Marathon by myself.

3. How Did You Get There?

We arrived in a special coach (with the Spice Girls!)

4. What Were Your Highlights?

The highlight of the Closing Ceremony was singing, “Always look on the bright side of life” along with 80,000 people (I also met Eric Idle backstage),

The highlight of the marathon was hearing that Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda had won! (I’m half Ugandan)

5. Did You See Team GB Athletes Compete?

I saw Scott Overall running in the Men’s Olympic Marathon.

6. What Did You Enjoy Most About The Day/s?

After the Closing Ceremony, we went into the centre of the stadium & met athletes from all over the world. I was looking for Mo Farah, but I couldn’t find him.

7. Are You a Seasoned Olympics and Paralympics fan?

I’ve watched many past Olympics on TV, but the fact that this was being held in London made it all the more special. There were so many events happening & the city was buzzing!

8. Were You Inspired To Take Up Sport?

I’m not much of a sporty person, but I have started using the free gym facilities in Wennington Green in Bow.

9. Did You Wear A Tracksuit To The Event?

I wore my Union Jack “Team GB” hoodie to represent!!!

 
Mr Gee (Poet and Radio Presenter), is the third of my Guest Posts. Over this coming year, I will feature a number of Games Volunteers and Games Visitors talking about their experience of London 2012!

**Lord Sebastian Coe said in his Olympic Closing Ceremony Speech:

“Our opening ceremony proclaimed that these would be a Games for everyone… at our closing ceremony, we can say that these were a Games by everyone.”

‘I Made London 2012’

Megan and three of her fellow London Ambassadors outside the Hyde Park POD

Megan Trace (far left) and the other Young Ambassadors with Gary,
their mentor. Outside the Hyde Park POD. All won the excellence 
badges for their work!

 

GUEST POST:  MEGAN TRACE

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1. Why Did You Volunteer To Be a London Ambassador?

I volunteered to be a London Ambassador because I am passionate about the city that I live in. I was only 9 years old when London won the bid, and I remember our headteacher writing how incredible it would be if pupils could be involved in the Games. I was determined from that point onwards to have some form of involvement in the Olympics. It was my dream to compete in the women’s football after being coached by Rachel Yankey who played for Team GB at London 2012, but I was plagued by injuries so quit the sport a few years ago.

I didn’t want to give up with being involved, so I kept an eye out for other opportunities. I found out about being a London Ambassador on the day the scheme was launched, and went straight for it. I wasn’t that confident that I’d be successful as my recruitment stage was really tough, but was over the moon when I got an email on my 16th birthday telling me that I’d been successful!

2. Where Were You Located?

I was located at Hyde Park during the first week of the Olympics, from 27th July to the 1st of August.

3. My Location was a Good Place to Volunteer Because….

… we had such a variety of questions. The Hyde Park pod was located at Speaker’s Corner, so with close proximity to Oxford Street as well at the Hyde Park Live Site, people were asking us all sorts of questions. The only issue we found was that it was very weather-orientated, and things were a little quiet on our first day because it was raining quite a bit.

4. What Was Your Highlight?

The highlight of volunteering for me was meeting so many new people. The atmosphere was amazing, everyone was so happy during the Games and it was great to see so many people celebrating. The general mood before the Games was that too much money was being spent on it, but as soon as the Olympics kicked off, everyone wanted it to be an event to remember!

5. What Was The Hardest Question You Were Asked?

Hmm, this is a tricky one! I think the hardest questions were the ones to do with tickets. Many tourists came to London expecting to be able to get tickets here, and were disappointed when they discovered that most of them had sold out. Being based at a kiosk pod too also meant that people thought we were a ticket office, and that they could collect their tickets from us. As the official Hyde Park ticket office wasn’t open during my shifts, some people got quite frustrated when they realised they’d have to go elsewhere to collect their tickets.

6. Which Was your Favourite Visitor?

There’s too many to name! I couldn’t possibly pick a particular favourite, but we met a couple from the USA whose grandchildren had asked for a long list of presents from London, and it would no doubt be an early Christmas when they returned home. We also met two guys who’d flown over from Australia at 5am, and by 8am they were already out and jogging around Hyde Park!

Another favourite were the Canadian people we met, whose event didn’t start until the afternoon in Greenwich so they were looking for things to do. We recommended that walked down to Parliament, take a river boat cruise down to the North Greenwich Arena and take a ride on the Emirates Air Line over the Thames to get aerial views over London, which they thought sounded like a brilliant idea.



7. Which Resource Did You Consult Most?

I mainly consulted the resource booklet that we were given for the specific locations. After every shift, I would write down notes in the booklet of the questions we were asked the most during the day, or ones that we found we didn’t have an answer for, and I’d then research these when I got home.

8. Did You Visit Olympic / Paralympic Related Events in London?

I’d planned to visit some after my time as a London Ambassador, but due to illness I didn’t get the chance to. I made sure my mum went to Casa Brasil at Somerset House though!

8. Did You Have a Favourite Wenlock throughout The City?

Being a bit of a Geography nerd, I think the A to Z map Wenlock was my favourite! We had a lot of visitors who were doing a statue tour and trying to find all of them.

10. What Would You Like To Say To Boris?

Thank you so much for this opportunity. It’s hugely boosted my confidence, which has proven to be really helpful as I’ve just started at a new school but I’m not afraid to make new friends! This is just the beginning of my volunteering career, and I’m saving up to be a part of Glasgow 2014 and Rio 2016 

 

Megan Trace is my 2nd Guest Post. She was one of the Young London Ambassadors. Megan’s fantastic Olympic Photo’s can be seen on Tumblr. Over this coming year, I am featuring a number of Games Volunteers and Games Visitors talking about their experience of London 2012!

**Lord Sebastian Coe in his closing speech at The Olympics Closing Ceremony said all the Volunteers had the right to carry the phrase ‘I made London 2012’ as a badge of honour.

‘I Made London 2012!’

Jeff on Duty at the Olympics Opening Ceremony


 
GUEST POST:  JEFF TONG

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1. What was your Olympic Volunteer Role?

I was an Operations Assistant for the Opening & Closing Ceremonies for the Olympic and Paralympic Gamesbased in the Olympic Stadium and around the Olympic Park. I was one out of 800 volunteers who had the privilege to be the first Olympic Games to help out in all four ceremonies.

2. When did you volunteer?

My first induction for the role was on the 12/04/2012 and my final day was on the 09/09/2012 so almost five months.

3. Describe your uniform

My uniform was pretty simple, it was wear anything that covered all seasonal weather with a blue hi-vis so cast and crew knew what department we belong to, plus the all important radio. On the show nights we wore all black so we could blend into the background, the London Ambassador trousers came in very handy with all its pockets!

4. What did you do?

Our tasks varied a lot; before the cast arrived at the stadium, we prepped the stadium ready for the cast, lots of risk assessing and putting signage everywhere etc. When the cast did grace the stadium there was a lot of cast co-ordination and movement, keeping them safe from construction and restricted areas, catering and supporting all other departments in their role. Then on the actual ceremony nights roles would change again!

5. What was your highlight?

Since I arrived at the stadium, only a handful of people knew where the Olympic Torch, a.k.a. Betty, will be and what it actually looks like. On the Opening Ceremony night I was fortunate enough to be the floor manager of the Bell Stage, being inside the stadium to witness it all was brilliant but the only new thing that I haven’t seen rehearsals of was the torch. Seeing that light up for the first time, as the cauldron transformed and came together, the silence of stadium with the solo opera singer, absolute spine-tingling moment!

6. What do you feel you gained?

The amount of happiness I felt for all the performers and how much they appreciated our time and effort reaffirmed how great volunteering is and what it brings to other people. So amplify this by nearly 20,000 cast members and that’s what I gained. That and I gained a lot of pins!

7. Are you inspired to volunteer further?

I’m currently a volunteer for St John Ambulance so understand the importance of it, and when I was at university I was always helping out with the Student Union and running clubs and events as a volunteer. I feel that this experience has renewed my values of volunteering, doing something not for personal gain but for others keeps you grounded.

8. What’s your lasting memory of the Olympics and Paralympics?

I will always remember this as The Games that brought so much jubilation, inspiration and selflessness to the UK. For that I am proud to be part of the event that united the world.

 

Jeff Tong is the first of my Guest Posts. Over this coming year, I will feature a number of Games Volunteers and Games Visitors talking about their experience of London 2012!

**Lord Sebastian Coe in his closing speech at The Olympics Closing Ceremony said all the Volunteers had the right to carry the phrase ‘I made London 2012′ as a badge of honour.