Rachel Waterman, a member of the London 2012 Nations and Regions Group team, tells us about being on the road with an Olympian to promote the London 2012 Games around the UK.
It’s not every day you find yourself travelling the length and breadth of the UK with an Olympic gold medallist. But earlier this month, I did just that when I accompanied LOCOG Chair Seb Coe on a whistle-stop trip to Glasgow and Belfast to demonstrate that London 2012 is reaching out to the whole of the UK and encouraging everyone to be part of London 2012.
The trip was taking place just days before ticket applications opened and we wanted to highlight that the chance to buy tickets for events in 2012 is an opportunity for all. Seb was asked lots of questions about the ticket application process. He was very clear that it’s “a marathon not a sprint” and that tickets for all of the UK venues could be applied for up to 11.59pm on 26 April: it makes no difference whether you apply on the first day or the last.
In Glasgow we visited Hampden Park – a Games time football venue – where Seb did lots of media interviews and met children from the Glasgow Sport Young Leaders programme, which is the first sport-related programme to be awarded the London 2012 Inspire Mark in Scotland.
Seb spent time in a Q&A session with the children and later said they were tougher questioners than the journalists! We also had a tour of the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome which is still under construction but, when completed, will be a venue during the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and an integral part of the regeneration of Glasgow’s east end – mirroring the regeneration currently taking shape in the east end of London.
But there was no time to stop so it was straight on to the next destination – Belfast, Northern Ireland. On arrival, we headed for the Northern Ireland Sport Institute to meet aspiring NI athletes and local media. Again, Seb spoke to the journalists to promote the message that this is a Games for the whole UK – not just London. In Northern Ireland, the 2012 Games are being used to get young people into sport and promote the social and economic benefits to the wider community.
Seb did some great interviews and it goes without saying that everyone was very excited to see him. The highlight for me, though, had to be hearing one of the Glasgow Sport Young Leaders explain she was so excited by the 2012 Games being in the UK that she’d save up all her pocket money and make it her number one priority to be there. Seeing young people from across the country inspired by London 2012 brings home the very real impact that these Games are already having – and makes me realise how important it is that we continue to get it right.
For more information about the ticket application process, watch Olympic gold medallist Jonathan Edwards explain how to apply and see comedian Miranda Hart’s top tips for getting tickets.