The Olympics put the smile back on my face :)
I have always loved the Olympics since I was little. I can remember being absolutely enthralled with the 1992 Olympics and I am one of these people who woke up at 3am to be able to watch parts of the Beijing Olympics live. When I was younger while my friends at school were idolising over celebrities and actors I was idolising over athletes. I love to watch a variety of sports at the Olympics but my main focus is gymnastics. I was a competitive gymnast although not quite the level to make the Olympics but absolutely love the sport and have moved into judging. This is a voluntary role which takes up most of my weekends and annual leave from work but I love being involved with the sport. My aim is to judge at the Olympics but that won’t be for a while yet. Some of the British judges that I judge with were technical officials at London 2012 Olympics. Unfortunately I was too far down the list to get to do that but I jumped at the opportunity to be involved as a gamesmaker.
Having attended the interview, training and test event and due to my gymnastics knowledge and experience I was given the most amazing job at the Olympics as a field of play marshall. I was picked to be one of eight people who would march the gymnasts around in the arena. I would carry the banner with the country or group and march the gymnasts around the arena and ensure they all went to the correct place at the correct time.
I was so excited about the Olympics. Unfortunately the week before I was meant to start my Olympic shifts my father died. He had been ill but it still comes as a shock. I was very close with my dad so it was a very upsetting time. Despite my upset, I didn’t want to miss my opportunity to go the Olympics as I had been really looking forward to it and I knew my dad would have wanted me to do it. I spoke to my team leader at the Olympics and my friends who I would be working with. I knew they would be there to support me. I knew most of the people I would be working with fairly well as they were all from a gymnastics background. Those I didn’t know I got to know at the test event. We all got on really well and I have made some great new friends.
I had the first couple of shifts and then had my dad’s funeral before the rest of my shifts. It was the most emotional week of my life. I had the worst day of my life but also some of the best days of my life.
My first few shifts were getting familiar with the arena and the routes we would take and working with the television companies on how they would film things. We also had podium training. This is where the gymnasts get to test out the apparatus on the podium in the arena. It was very long shifts with some of them being 15 hour shifts but it was worth it. Then it was onto the real thing.
The atmosphere in the arena was electric and something I will never forget. The competitions were also amazing and so close and exciting. We had to stay completely neutral and were not allowed to cheer which at times was extremely difficult. The men’s team final was the most exciting day for me. Any of the eight teams in the final were capable of winning a medal including the GB team. The competition went down to the last routine. Everyone in the arena was on their feet. It was so incredible to be there especially when the GB team made history by winning a medal for the first time in over 100 years. I have known most of the guys in the team for a long time so it was nice to be there to witness them win. I couldn’t help but smile. It was one of the best days of my life. I am so privileged to have been there.
Thank you to the people making waves for assisting me with a bursary. It was expensive to volunteer with all the training and trips to London but it was definitely worth it. I have made some great friends, gained some more skills and experience and enjoyed myself. It really helped me get through a very difficult time in my life.