Tag Archives: Gemma Gibbons

The end of the London 2012 Olympics

12 Aug

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All good things come to an end – and, after what can only be described as a ‘fantastic fortnight of sport’, the London 2012 Olympics has concluded.

My GamesMaker journey started two years ago with a simple application, followed by an interview, training sessions and eventually uniform and accreditation collection. Based at the ExCeL inside the judo and wrestling arenas, I’ve distributed start times and schedules to the world’s press, ensured they had everything they needed and assisted with press conferences for Team GB’s own Gemma Gibbons (judo) and USA’s Jordan Burroughs (wrestling). Needless to say I’ve enjoyed every minute.

It’s been a great experience with lots of perks on top of being part of this unforgettable experience and witnessing great sports first hand. The Olympic sponsors have looked after the GamesMakers to no end – with McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Nature Valley coming out on top.

Biting off more than I can chew?

In my two weeks at the ExCeL I’ve not eaten or even sniffed a Big Mac. Why? Quite simply, there isn’t one at the venue. Instead I’ve enjoyed a range of balanced meals: shepherd’s pie, chicken chasseur and stir-fry to name a few. This worldwide partner is giving me much more – a bite out of its new online customer service qualification. (I’ll update on this early September once available.)

In addition to this, as a ‘thank you’ for our work, we’ve been rewarded with theatre ticket discounts.

Fanta-stic fluids

I’ve developed a penchant for a daily dose of Fanta (a drink I previously reserved for holidays). Produced by Coca-Cola, GamesMakers had a wide range of drinks to choose from when off duty.

Back to nature

Nature Valley had a much bigger presence than Cadbury’s. The official cereal bar supplier to the Olympic Games, after two weeks I’ve become programmed to enjoy a pack at least once a day.

But treats come and go, the two greatest memories from the Games are in the form of my uniform and the ‘thank you’ gift I was presented with this afternoon – a unique GamesMaker replica relay baton.

It signifies trust – something we all put in each other to do a great job as part of our teams. It’ll be special to me, always. But not everyone is as sentimental. You can probably pick up one from eBay. Top price is £150.

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Volunteering at the Olympics has a silver lining

2 Aug

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I walked into the ExCeL this afternoon thinking it would be the same as any other shift – keep the journalists happy and catch some world-class judo action. And it was, more or less, until Team GB judoka Gemma Gibbons scooped silver in the under 78kg judo tournament – our first Olympic medal in the sport for more than a decade. Every step of the way the 10,000 strong crowd were cheering her on, including the Prime Minister David Cameron, Foreign Secretary William Hague and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Prince Edward was also rumoured to have dropped by to show his support.

I was lucky enough to help out in the press conference after the medal ceremonies for the men’s 100kg contest had taken place with a poignant Russian victory, just for the President. As journalists from all around the world clambered into the conference room, we ensured medallists’ names were in the right place and had our microphones ready to hand out to capture all the questions.

Athletes sat on the stage against a London 2012 backdrop. Top tier sponsor Coca Cola also dominated the table with bottles of its classic drink and Powerade taking pride of place.

The main question during the men’s conference was ‘when is the women’s?’ With one athlete by-passing the conference and another taken to the medical zone for urgent attention, the top table was lacking. But, it wasn’t long before: American Kayla Harrison (gold), Brit Gemma Gibbons (silver), French Audrey Tcheumeo and Brazilian Mayra Aguiar (both bronze) took their places.

Journalists from Press Association, Evening Standard and the Daily Mail all fired questions at Gemma which emphasised London 2012’s message: the desire to inspire the next generation and raise the profile of judo.

It was a fantastic experience to be part of this event – a conference honouring the most successful Team GB judoka this week. Bring on tomorrow.

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