Judo


Involvement in the Olympic Paralympic Games 2012

My journey for this fantastic experience started back in May of 2011. My interview for the role of Olympic Training Venue Manager seemed to go well but I had to wait several months before I found out I was successful, not only did I get the job I applied for but also the same role at the Paralympic Games. My 2 month contract started on June 29th 2012, I could not believe how quick my start date came round.

Redbridge Leisure Centre was to be the Judo Training Centre sharing with Wrestling and Badminton. Our first roles as a group were to prepare not only the training venue but also the competition venue which was the Excel Exhibition Centre in Docklands. Over one weekend our team laid 1,382 2 metre by 1 metre mats, 50mm deep and weighing 25kg each. I was the bumper inner, making sure each mat was laid squire, this equated to 34,550kg being moved over the 3 days, I ached for a few days after. We had to pack the mats away once the Games finished, then repeated the process for the Paralympic Games, which needed different colour mats for the Visually Impaired athletes. (See picture 1-2)

As my role started at the Training Venue I got to know my volunteers and realised I had some very dedicated people that had given up weeks of their time to help make the Games happen, it surely would not have been the success it had been without these fantastic group of people, they really did make it happen. (Picture 3) Some of these helpers had no knowledge of judo at all but threw themselves completely into their role (excuse the pun) 135 Countries competed in judo at the Olympic Games and most at some time or other used our facility and 30 countries attending for the Paralympic Venue at Mayesbrook Park (Picture 4) Each training area had to be sectioned off by Japanese shoji screens, this gave each country privacy when training.

My role involved liaising with Media, reporters and film crews arriving on a daily basis to interview athlete and coaches, although some restricted training sessions to no media access which had to be adhered to, to some visiting press annoyance. The mats had to be cleaned after each training session so when the centres were at their busiest it was all hand to deck. Our volunteers looked after all our visiting counties ensuring they had ice, drinks, towels and equipment ready for if they were needed and they certainly did a fantastic job.

I was invited to witness the rehearsal for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games, an experience I shall never forget. The atmosphere was electric and the engineering feats achieved to produce such an inspiring show were huge. It was an emotional evening, especially the foundry scene and the Olympic rings; the sound of 60000 people cheering was chilling. The whole ceremony was fantastic, it made me feel very proud to be British and very appreciative to all the people that had volunteered to make our Games so special and so different to any other Opening Ceremony that had gone before.

I would like to thank Motorvations for giving me so much support and encouragement through my experience at the Olympic and Paralympic Games; it has been very much appreciated.

Bill...