Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Games Maker - Richard Dando (Part 2)

We've been hearing from Sport Wales staff who are joining the thousands of volunteers who'll be keeping the Games ticking behind the scenes. Fresh from a shift at the Opening Ceremony we hear from Senior Officer, Richard Dando, who has been chosen as a Games Maker official with the Event Services team based at the Olympic Stadium.  

What a week I’ve had as a Gamesmaker for London 2012 based at the Olympic Stadium. In fact, the experience has far exceeded any expectations I had prior and I’ve loved every minute so far. 

Grandstand seat: Richard's view of the Opening Ceremony
Monday and Wednesday were the public rehearsals for the opening ceremony where everybody was asked to #savethesurprise by creator Danny Boyle while Friday was the real thing being broadcast to an estimated 1 billion people worldwide!

So far my roles have been mainly directing people to their seats and around the stadium to try and ensure their visit is as positive as possible. This is the memory we want visitors to take away with them, not the queues on Stratford station post event! I also had a spell in charge of pushchair and wheelchair storage which got quiet hectic at the end of the show when everybody came at once. Pushchairs all look the same to me folded down!

I won’t bore you with details of the ceremony itself, as I’m sure everyone has seen the amazing footage, but it was pretty special to be there in person and witness not only the ceremony but the reaction of spectators to the ceremony. A couple of things have stood out for me this week:
  • There is a real desire to volunteer amongst Games Makers that I’ve met. Yes the Olympic and Paralympic appeal helps, as it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, but how do we translate any learnings from London 2012 into community sport? Having friendly faces welcoming people to clubs and events could be a start. Just follow @GM_Stories on twitter for some great Games Maker tales.
  • Whether you’re a Games Maker, LOCOG member of staff or agency worker, everyone is in the same kit  and I feel this has avoided any hierarchy issues between paid and unpaid staff and created a great team spirit of everyone pulling together to put on a great games.
  • We all know that sport doesn’t happen without volunteers so it was good to hear IOC President Jacques Rogge recognising the important role they play during his opening speech.
  • There was lots of speculation on who was going to light the flame and although I had a tip off that young people were going to be involved it was fantastic to see seven young athletes have the honour.  One of those seven was Jordon Duckitt, the current UK Young Ambassador steering group chair which not only helped put  the movement well and truly in the limelight, but highlighted the importance of engaging young people in ‘inspiring a generation’ or ‘getting every child hooked on sport for life’.  Sport Wales and our partners must continue to engage properly with young people.
I’ve got  a few days back in normality before heading back to London for six shifts during the athletics starting on Sunday and I’ll do another updatet then.  In the meantime, if you’re more interested in which celebs I’ve spotted or said ‘sut mae’ to then give me a shout @richdando78

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!