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Thorite man takes time out for the Olympics

Thorite man takes time out for the Olympics

Friday 12th October 2012

My Olympic journey for London 2012

It all started way back in November 2010 when I responded to a general plea for people interested in sport to help at the London Olympics. After filling in the forms I was invited along to a selection event at Salford Quays in Manchester March 2011. Part of this process was to determine areas of interest and expertise, mine was in athletics.

Due to the number of applicants it was not until November 2011 that I received a Games Maker offer of a position as a Timing and Scoring team member based at the Olympic Stadium. The position had to be accepted but at that time the shifts were not known.

The Orientation training began in February 2012. Fronted by Jonathan Edwards and Eddie Izzard this was an introduction to the Olympic Philosophy. Venues and numbers involved also what was expected as one of the 70,000 Games Makers.

The need for security meant prior to the event I had to travel to London to collect my uniform and accreditation in person. The bonus was we were able to try the items for size. Accommodation was not provided but I was lucky as a family friend in North Finchley took pity on me. Fortunately an oyster card was supplied to cover the cost of travel.

My first visit to the Olympic Park was on 1st August 2012 when the Role and Venue specific training was given. This was my first opportunity to be in the stadium and see the Olympic flame in all its glory. Wow excitement building not long now.

Our team consisted of eight games makers, four based at final call for distribution and four after the mixed zone for retrieval. Our task was to fit transponders to every athlete running 800m or above so a signal could be transmitted and split times shown on the big screens.

Once our duty was completed we were able to access the stadium spectator area. What an atmosphere with 80,000 people cheering on the athletes especially the British. I was fortunate to see the first 7 heats in the 100m with Bolt, Blake, Gay, Powell, Gemili and Chambers in action. Then Jess Ennis in the Javelin competition as part of the heptathlon.

That was only my first day and after having a meal in the workforce rest area it was time to head back. I jumped on the Javelin train at Stamford International to St Pancras then boarded the underground Northern line back to West Finchley finally a ten minute walk back to the house. Settled down to watching the evenings action on TV. tired but happy.

This was a similar pattern on the other days I worked. On a couple of occasions though the races had finished before us but we were able to watch the action on T V in the call room. How strange to think athletes stood in front of you minutes earlier were there on T V walking in to the stadium to race.

During the games after a certain number of shifts we were awarded a games maker Bronze, Silver and Gold medal. Also we received a thank you badge from Omega the official timing providers. On the final day we were presented with a thank you certificate from the LOCOG organisers also an engraved relay baton ideal to use as a store for the rolled certificate.

What a collection of memorabilia. We could keep the uniform in addition a bag, umbrella, drinks container, swatch watch and trainers. I bought a daily programme full of features Photo’s and facts. Plus all of the games maker goodies, medals, journals and badges etc. What a haul which I can look back on with fond memories.

The lasting memory for me was the incredible welcome given to everyone be it a games maker or spectator on the way to or in the Olympic Park. A smile a friendly word no matter who they were or what nationality. The stand out moment from the many special times was being able to stand track side and watch Mo Farrah run and win his 2nd gold medal in the 5k, what a very special experience.

I must say how proud I was to be selected as part of the London 2012 Olympic Games. It was an honour and pleasure to be a Games Maker. Proof if any was needed that there are many genuinely good, honest and fun people out there who were willing to work hard and deliver a great games.

Kevin Johns
Key Account Manager

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