How do you think Elizabeth Rapoport described her role as a 2012 Olympic Games volunteer at the London Aquatic Centre? "Holding doors and picking up wet towels."
Research student Elizabeth, who is a member of the Athlete Services team at the Aquatics Centre, is one of four Buro Happold staff who as ‘Gamesmakers’ will be helping to run the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London over the next couple of months.
I, as another of the Buro Happold Gamesmakers, will be working at a venue that Buro Happold had a hand in creating; the Water Polo Arena where I will be carrying out the role of Sports Statician. All my team members were very impressed when I revealed that I worked for one of the firms that had designed the venue and structural engineer Mike Sefton, who was one of our engineers on the project, was very helpful in giving me some advance tips about it.
"Dealing with press photographers at the mountain biking and canoe slalom venues" was Dan Scurlock's explanation of his role at the Games. Infrastructure engineer Dan, who is based in London, went on to say “I am really looking forward to being able to see venues in which I have had a direct involvement and being part of the team of volunteers that will make the Games happen."
On the other hand, it sounds like Peter Mardle, a building services engineer in our London office, has a rather more sedate job; ferrying athletes, press and officials as a T3 fleet driver for the Paralympic Games. Peter said this about his role, " We’ve been told that we are the most important cog in the system and, while I am not sure we are that important, the chance to say I helped do that in what is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity is one I couldn’t miss.”
We have had to go through various stages of training in the build-up to the Games, including orientation training, venue training and role training, and while at times some of it has been a little bit tedious, overall I am very excited about not only going to an Olympic Games but being able to work at my home country's Games.
However, let’s give the last words to Elizabeth who concludes “It may not be the most glamorous job but the opportunity to be behind the scenes, supporting world class athletes at the Olympic Games was one I couldn't pass up. If someone has to pick up Michael Phelps’s towel, it might as well be me!”