Tuesday, July 24, 2012

#2012cymruwales - Sue Maughan, Games Maker (Part 2)

With London 2012 now fully up and running, we hear from Sport Wales staff who are joining the thousands of volunteers who'll be keeping the Games ticking behind the scenes. We caught up with Senior Officer, Sue Maughan who has been chosen as a Games Maker official for athletics at both the Olympics and Paralympics. 

So with selection as a National Technical official in the bag (or so I thought) May saw the start of my journey to London, quite literally.

Every Olympic event had a designated test event, a chance for various aspects of the stadium to be put to the test, whether it’s the security, medal presentations or even how athletes will be led to their event start point. The athletics test event was the BUCS Athletics Championships, held between 4-7 May with the Paralympic test event taking place on 8 May. 

Sue Maughan: London 2012 Games Maker
So, on the train to London I got, with bags packed full of officiating kit, wet weather gear and clothes for a six day stay. I suppose hitting London at rush hour, and dragging my case and bags on the tube across London, will be good practice for July but note to self; try and avoid rush hour trains and tubes next time!

So I arrived at the hotel early evening, checked into my hotel just across the road from the Olympic Park, and joined the throng of other officials in the queue to get our event accreditation. I knew a few faces but I’d know a lot more by the end of the long weekend.

That evening we had a National Technical Officials (NTO) briefing scheduled which would be inside the stadium. For me it was my first visit to the Olympic Park and site of the stadium where I’d be spending several weeks over the summer. Security was minimal at this time of night but was our first taste of things to come. I think it’s fair to say that all the officials were like little kids, all wanting our photo taken, all with big grins on our faces...We were actually here, it was really happening. 

We were given a quick behind the scenes guided tour, avoiding the construction and finishing touches that were still underway, before being briefed. We were told we were selected because we were the best but it was also made clear that we were still under test with final selections being made at the end of the month.  Time to be on best behaviour!
The Olympic Stadium in Stratford

Following technology training the competition kicked off on Friday night. What an experience for those University students who were participating…one to tell their grandkids about.

Duties for me included the pole vault, discus, javelin and the long jump and as the weekend progressed the conviviality between officials grew, we sharpened up on our presentation, marching out to competition sites, sitting smartly at event sites. Our aim was not to be seen and noticed, but to ensure the competition ran as smoothly as possible. 

Five days of completion flew by and I think we even got a bit complacent about where we were, but it still brought a smile to my face when I thought about it. The next time I’d be here would be for the Olympics where things would be on a much bigger scale, with more people, more security and the athletes competing for much higher stakes.

The end of May finally brought the confirmation of ‘official selection as an NTO’ for the Olympics and Paralympics. Emails have since been flying in around arrival times, kit collection and even how much sun-cream we can take into the stadium and what sunglasses we can wear. So now it’s next stop London on 31 July with bags getting packed as we speak.

Keep track of all our Welsh athletes at London 2012 and follow @sport_wales on Twitter for all the latest news. Remember to use the #2012cymruwales hash tag!