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"Our Man at the games" - The sun shines at last.
8th August – “The sun shines at last”
The journey to the Park was quick today – I arrived at about 12.00pm and while walking along met one of my fellow “Gamesmakers” – she lives in Essex runs her own business, is worldly wise great fun and going to India on holiday; coincidently it’s exactly the same package that my wife and I looked at, so I gave her my e mail address and she has promised me to let me have her candid opinion. We chatted as we walked the mile or so from West Ham – her observations on the way things were organised were full of insight - but we both concluded that although nice to chat about our role was to “get on with it” and “chill”.
At the venue we were gearing up for the semi-finals, this would mean thousands of people packing into the arena supporting their teams. Hence, the allocation of seats together with how the many different “categories” (of people) should be sorted was an important issue. We were also expecting some Royalty – I hasten to add not ours – but everything needed to be just right. Our Army colleagues were all “present and correct” (sorry I could not think of a better line at this time at the end of a long day) quite philosophical as to where they would be placed. One of our Team Leaders was celebrating an important birthday – he brought some cake in – we sang and thankfully he distributed the lovely cake for all of us to share.
As we draw slowly to the close of London 2012 – the work seems to go smoother but already some colleagues are beginning to mention “how they will miss” the people they have worked with – others are seriously considering volunteering for the next Games! One colleague was calculating how much older her children would be hence “it will be easier” to have them looked after while she was away. A few have embraced some of the challenges – the translation for the media, one a fluent speaker, a model but also finishing her University education was in her element, she was almost no longer “neutral” in her support for the team she was translating for – two others were quite anxious about ensuring that proper disabled access with mobility support was available for a guest, particularly as one of the special lifts had decided to stop working.
I linger a little on the people I have been with as it is their collective efforts that have made these Games happen. I realise that is a very strong statement to make, but the huge army of volunteers with their spirit, energy, and real connection with those at the Games is all too easy to say nice things about without appreciating how much London 2012 depended on them delivering. It was a risk – but it is this group of people that have made the whole thing so special.
The efforts at the “stand” today made sure that every seat was filled. It was Australia Vs Serbia – a fast moving start with the Ozzies going out in front – as the game progressed this was soon eroded. Serbia who had in many of the other games proved themselves to be quite a force soon gained control winning comfortably. I chatted to one of the Australian coaches who admitted they were beaten by the better side- he was very relaxed – his main argument was that Australia were re-inventing their sports capacity, hence they may not be doing too well at the moment – but “just you wait”! A loud warning here, one that England’s Cricket Team needs to listen to as they go into next year’s Ashes series; also – they have now picked up a few medals at London 2012 including some valuable Gold.
The weather was gloomy when I arrived for my shift – on leaving the venue the sun was out - the Olympic park glowing. The roar of the crowd at the stadium was all too evident – it’s a really strange feeling walking past with this noise behind you, loud, powerful and purposeful. There is still much that is yet to conclude at the Olympic Games – important finals including the Closing Ceremony so now is not the time to rest or take a break but see it through – there is no sign in any of the conversations I have with other “Gamesmakers” that anyone is going to relax until the very last hour of the very last shift.
Yinnon Ezra MBE