My third shift was scheduled to start at 15:45 on Monday 23rd July, I had a day off on the Sunday, useful to reflect on the events of the night before. As a bonus, tonight would be the night of the first official Technical rehearsal, 50k Gamesmakers and friends were expected tonight. A big deal. I had managed to get a ticket, but of course I was working so I gave mine to another volunteer who had not been so succesful.

I made my way to the stadium on a bit of a high today. Saturday night had been a stunning experience and so far I had not yet received the e-mail firing me from my slight misdemeanor on Friday night. So all felt good , well apart from my feet. Day 3 and those trainers were starting to rub my heels. But i’m a man, so I would cope, and it’s hardly like I would be walking miles now is it.

I arrived in the office, nice and warm armed with my meal vouchers and cup of tea. First one from the evening shift to arrive, the IT team manager saw me, and declared to the morning shift “the evening shift is here now, you can all go home”.

I was still nervous, not sure what the IT manager would say. But he smiled and seemed friendly, and didn’t mention anything about Friday night. I relaxed a little, but only a bit, and I patiently waited for the telling off.

Other Gamesmakers started to arrive. We were the evening shift, and there would be lots and lots to do today to prepare the stadium for the first rehearsal with people in their seats.

We also had a lot to do around the media areas today. Up to now, the vast majority of our work was in the press and media tribunes, getting them ready and repeatedly testing the systems to make sure they were ready and would perform at 100%, however today we also had a lot of work to do around the TV and media trucks.

But what’s a media truck I hear you ask??

Best way to describe one, is a huge production office on wheels. Each one would have a main editing suite, a video suite and a sound suite, and with all the equipment I reckon you could get about 8 people in. All of this fits into a trailer that is pulled along by a truck. It was fantastic to wander around them a bit, filled wall to ceiling with screens, showing different feeds from the stadium and also some live TV feeds.
They also had funky LED lighting and full air conditioning, they were in a geeky technical way gorgeous, and fascinating.
Our tasks today would be to add additional media information PCs into quite a few of these mobile TV production suites. This involved helping out with the ethernet cabling, supplying the touch screens and PCs and in some cases keyboards and mice, and all the other paraphernalia that goes with a PC.

Often these suites would be empty of people until we turned up, sometimes there would be people in though, working away. If there were people there we would ask where the equipment was to be sited, if not we would rely on our instructions and hopefully site it in the right place.
Now I mentioned that these suites were huge, and yes they are, until you need to install any equipment, then they are cramped! Installing these PCs would take lots of crawling around, mainly on the floor (which was carpeted) and often between a huge bank of screens (chucking out a fair amount of heat) and a huge mixing desk or two.
I had thought as Gamesmakers (volunteers) we would be looked down upon by these obviously skilled people, but on the contrary they treated us like equals, completely confident that we knew what we were doing, and along with our Acer and Atos colleagues, they were right. We did know what we were doing.
And I loved every minute of it!

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We spent a large part of the afternoon setting up these information PCs in the media suites, hard work but fun and once we had finished we made our way back to the office to pick up our next activity for the afternoon evening.

They weve looking for volunteers to pick up some supplies from the Basketball arena. I and another Gamesmaker volunteered to do this task, never one to shy away from work!
The IT manager suggested that as it was a fairly long way, we should take one of the internal buses, so we made our way out of the back of the stadium to the bus stop to wait for a bus.
And we waited. It was a hot day too, and after waiting about 10 minutes in the heat, we decided that it must be quicker to walk, and we didn’t want to get into trouble for taking too long.
So we made our way out of the stadium heading across the park to the Basketball arena.

I titled this update ” The Olympic park is huge” and by crikey was it. We had no idea just how big it was. Luckily most of the park was not open to the public (but some bits had been opened in advance of the technical rehearsal), so our passage across the park was relatively free, apart from the odd checkpoint, but it was proper huge. As we made our way across the park, following the official routes, we saw the direction signs, and the first one informed us that it was a 40 minute walk!
We kept walking and after about 10 minutes (it was a beautiful warm evening, so we didn’t mind too much) and we saw another sign, pointing a way to the basketball arena, also informing us that it was a 40 minute walk!!

We were getting a bit concerned by this time!
I have already mentioned earlier in this post that the trainers were beginning to rub my feet, and after 30 minutes of walking, by golly they were starting to hurt. And we still had about 20 minutes to go.
Finally after about 45 minutes we arrived at the basketball arena. Yes I did write that, 45 minutes!

Now of course we had a relatively high access level for the Olympic stadium and access to the common areas of the park, but no access at all to the Basketball arena. To arrange for the transfer of supplies, I had to ring our contact which I did, and we waited patiently outside the huge basketball arena for him to arrive.
Whilst we waited, we marvelled at the sheer scale of the park. We could see the stadium which looked quite close, it certainly didn’t look 45 minutes walk away.
Our contact arrived with the supplies, and we exchanged them with the supplies we had brought with us. Now to make our way back to the stadium.

We had been asked to ring the office once we had exchanged the supplies, and it was at this point we were advised that we needed to pick up some more stuff, from another contact, this time from the athletes village.
This would prove to be a little bit trickier….

We arranged to meet this time near one of the bridges from the Olympic Park to the athletes village. Easy peasy! Nope not at all, he had not yet been out of the athletes village, and we had not been out of the Olympic park, and there were at least 3 bridges to choose from, oh and not all of them were open yet!
We waited near a range of bridges for a while, and during that time we saw (and nervously said hello to) the Great Britain Olympic Swimming team, oh wow, how cool was that!
In the end and after about 20 minutes of random direction giving from both sides we finally found the correct bridge and we met up, he the first time in the Olympic park, and we as close as we could get to the athletes village, success.
We called the IT manager again and not having any more supplies to pick up, we made our way back to the stadium. 40 Minutes later and with extremely painful heels I got back to the office.

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