*Originally posted 20.05.2013. Edited 09.02.2017* I was lucky enough to be picked to be a volunteer at the Olympics in 2012. The London 2012 volunteers were called Games Makers. The process started way back in 2010, however, my involvement started a little later than that. I originally applied for a paid role, but in hindsight I am so glad I didn't get the job! 240,000 people applied to be Games Makers with only around 70,000 being chosen. When I received a call inviting me to be a Games Maker I was over the moon to have been picked.
Even thought the Games were awarded to London, the football events were held in Glasgow, Newcastle, Coventry, Manchester and Cardiff as well as in London. The role I was offered was Athlete Services Assistant, to be based at the Marriott Hotel in Glasgow. And for it to be looking after teams of footballers, being a football fan myself, the role couldn't have been better! I couldn't have asked for a better location either, as I was living a mere 5 minute walk away from the hotel! The role and my experience as a whole was far better than I had expected.
There were a few training days which took place at Hampden Park, and at the Hilton and Marriott hotels in Glasgow. I also had to go and collect my uniform and accreditation. These were great as we got to meet fellow volunteers, as well as the people who were going to be in charge of us. There wasn't too much to learn as such, just the way it was all going to work. The most important thing for me was gaining familiarisation of the Marriott hotel, and getting to know the people I was going to be working with a bit better. I was super pleased that everyone I came across was so friendly.
|with Clare & Preeti at Hampden Park for training.|
|With every new outfit comes a photoshoot, right? I didn't have any need to wear the cap as I was indoors all the time!|
On my first few days there were no teams in, so it was good to be able to settle in to the role and get everything ready. We had meeting/dining rooms to set up, as well as setting up the relaxation room - which was where our table was based!
|Testing out the facilities before the teams arrived.|
One of the main things that we had to do was be on hand to answer any questions or deal with any problems which arose. Over the course of my stint in the hotel, I had to deal with a few issues but it was mostly plain sailing. We had to make sure everyone had the correct schedules and knew when they were going to training and matches, and one of the random tasks we had to do was order pizza for the whole of the Spanish team! They even gave us a couple of pizzas which was really nice of them! We also had to make sure the relaxation room was kept neat and tidy at all times.
Being stationed in the relaxation room - which was on route to all the meeting rooms and the entrance/exit - was a fantastic place to be. In the relaxation room there was a tv, wii, pool table and table tennis tables as well as sofas to relax on. The football teams were made up of up and coming stars as well as some who were already established. It was really nice to observe the players from different teams mingling and unwinding. We did actually get invited to play wii and table tennis a few times too! Not many people can say that they have been beaten at Mario Kart by Real Madrid player Isco! One of the days I also had an interesting conversation with 'Frank' who is a French member of the Olympic Committee - he was in promoting the Athlete's Commission. As well as our Athlete Services team, some of the transport team were based with us - the ones who coordinated the travel between the Hotel and venues, and each of the countries had a Team Liaison Games Maker who were with the teams 24/7, so we got to meet other Games Makers too - along with everyone who was working at the Hilton looking after the women's football teams.
|Mario Kart with Zouhair Feddal and Driss Fettouhi of the Moroccan team.|
There were a few more highlights during my time as a Games Maker, one of these was when Cesar Azpilicueta came for a chat with me and Annie, who was the Team Liaison for Japan, introducing himself, asking our names and wanting to practice his English. He was lovely, and every time he saw me he shouted 'Emma!' which was quite funny. He ended up signing for Chelsea not long after the Olympics! One of the other super lovely guys that I came across was Juan Mata, who had to borrow a charger from one of our team. Actually, most of the people I came across were SO nice.
|Don't really like this photo of me, but the lovely Cesar Azpilicueta! This was actually one of my days off haha.|
|Another picture of me that I don't really like, but with the super sweet Juan Mata.|
|Zou Feddal of Morocco|
|and Zou Feddals autograph, on my arm.. he was obsessed with signing things!|
Weirdly, my last day coincided with the actual opening ceremony (there were so many football matches that a few needed to be played before the opening day!), so it was very weird sitting watching that on the TV thinking that that was me finished! Must admit it was a very emotional ceremony and I did quite possibly have a little cry during it!
I just have so many memories flying round my head every time I think about it all! I just can't find the words to describe them, they are moments that you just have to have been there to appreciate. Luckily, I'm still in touch with a few of the people I worked closely with, and from time to time we reminisce about our memories.
|with Stuart, my line manager|
|with Ben & Elizabeth - we were the 'dream team' and every day working with these two was so much fun!|
|Some of the team from the Marriott. There were some offices upstairs also.|
|the Dream Team!|
|Preeti, myself and Liz at the welcome home parade for the Scottish athletes.|
|Ahh love this photo! Lovely bunch including current Premier League players, on the right of me, from right to left - Ander Herrera, Juan Mata (both Manchester United) & Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea).|
|Love this pic too! Inigo, Tello & Montoya.|
|Another really lovely guy, Maynor Figueroa.|
|My other half was a little jealous that I got to meet this guy - David De Gea, Manchester United goalkeeper.|
|Arnold Peralta - he actually signed for Rangers for a bit, and I kept in touch with him via twitter and had another photo with him when Rangers played Queen of the South. Tragially, Arnold was killed in Honduras in 2015, which is so sad.|
|What a fantastic souvenir to have! Signed by some of the Spain squad: César Azpilicueta, Ander Herrera, Javi Martinez, Alberto Botia,Juan Mata, David De Gea, Martin Montoya & Rodrigo Moreno.|