Diary of a Games volunteer - the first three days

Today is my day off, so I am back home doing normal things, like attending Kingston Carnival and cooking a roast dinner. Tomorrow the extraordinary begins again.

I've had three days at ExCel which have left me exhausted and totally exhilarated. I have never in my life started work before 6am, and I have rarely before been on my feet almost continuously for 12 hours. But it has been amazing.

I have had to learn a lot very quickly and have been making decisions on the go as situations change rapidly, hoping that I'm not doing anything stupid. We were warned that the first day would be challenging for everyone, including the LOCOG staff who, in many cases, had been developing the systems for the last 4 years. But it went smoothly and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

I'm volunteering with Event Services, who manage the venues and the spectators - everything from checking the tickets, ushering people in the arenas, answering questions and looking after lost children.

The major change from the Olympics is that spectators can buy day passes which admit them to any of the five arenas at ExCel. This makes for a fluid situation since it is difficult to predict how many will want to get into any one event. There have been lengthy queues for sitting volleyball, prompted by the publicity given to Maxine Wright who lost her legs on 7/7, the day after she had been celebrating London being awarded the Games. My advice is to get there early - at least an hour before the first session - to be sure of a seat.

As a Team Leader I'm responsible for a small group on volunteer Games Makers, but the team changes each day, and my job changes each day as well. This does mean that the more exciting jobs are rotated with the more mundane ones and everyone gets a chance to do a range of tasks.

On my first day my team was looking after spectators in the sitting volleyball arena, and I had a similar role yesterday in the judo arena. I'm not sure exactly what the capacity is in each arena but I would guess around 5000. The sound of a full arena when GB athletes are competing is unbelievable. In between I thoroughly enjoyed a day spent on the Boulevard - the wide walkway that runs the full length of the building - just being helpful.

So now I'm on my way back to Docklands to be ready for a early call tomorrow morning.


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