It is just six months until the London 2012 Games officially begins. While most eyes will be focused on the athletes once the competition gets underway, a huge team of people will be working hard behind the scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly for those competing in and following the Olympics and Paralympics. Up to 70,000 of these workers will be volunteers from the Games Maker scheme. Media officer Mandy Murphy explains why she’s giving up her time to be part of the press operations team at London 2012.
When I agreed to write this blog, I told myself I was going to try to avoid clichés and superlatives as much as humanly possible – so let’s dispense with a couple from the offset. I think London 2012 is going to be amazing, and I couldn’t be more excited to be playing a small part in it.
I started working in London as a charity magazine journalist soon after we got the Games, so I’m really looking forward to doing my bit for the city that has provided the backdrop to my twenties. One of my first assignments in that job was writing a feature exploring how London 2012 might leave a lasting legacy of better sports opportunities and general wellbeing in East London, and I remember speaking to young children at a sports ground in Leyton and asking them whether they were looking forward to the Olympics. One boy shouted: “I can’t wait!” His excitement was so infectious that I knew I really wanted to get involved in some way when the Games finally came around.
So when the Games Maker scheme opened, I applied to volunteer in the press operations team (I now work as a charity media officer, so it seemed a good fit) and was really pleased when I got invited to go to the London ExCel Centre for an interview. The afternoon was well organised and it was good to have a chat with some of the other interviewees and find out more about the roles on offer.
Any pre-interview nerves quickly faded soon after I was ushered into the futuristic interview pod. I bonded with my interviewer over our fondness for Camden – where I’ve lived for the past four years – and mutual hero-worship of Eddie Izzard, who had a starring role in the introductory video we were shown before our interviews. We must have had a good chat as all the other interviews seemed to finish before mine did!
I was thrilled when I got an email offering me a place as a Flash Quote Reporter at the Beach Volleyball event. It sounds like a really interesting and varied role, which could see me working right at the centre of post-match reporting. My main duty will be interviewing the athletes after they’ve competed, so that quotes can then be put out on the newswire. It sounds like it will be very pressurised and frenetic (and a good chance to test my shorthand skills) but hopefully very fun too! I’m looking forward to starting my training next month and finding out more about what the role entails, as well as meeting some of my fellow volunteers.
The fact that there will be 5,000 press operations volunteers really hits home that all eyes will be on London this summer and we’ve got six months to prepare as best we can to welcome the world’s media.
And just like the boy I interviewed all those years ago, I can’t wait!