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 Games, based 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.