And by crikey it was early, proper early this one, a 06:45am start.

Now I know that there were many other Gamesmakers who had to start a lot earlier, and leave a lot later, so I shouldn’t grumble. But for those of us in the IT team who were scheduled in today, this would be our earliest shift.

Towards the start of this blog, I mentioned that we had been informed that we needed to be in the IT office at the time our shift started. For me this morning, that would have meant waking up at 03:30am, which did not fill me with Joy. So I checked with the the Acer and Atos colleagues who were on the same shift, to find out what time they needed to be there. Their shifts started at 7am and not 06:45, and as we couldn’t start work without them (we were a team) I made a decision that I would aim for that time too. This was important, as due to the train times it would mean at least another hour in bed, which was a very good thing.

Cool crisp and early, I made my way towards the park. Naturally the roads and trains were quieter, and the journey was quite pleasant. It was still busy at the entrance to the park though, when I arrived, but everyone was still smiling and happy, the power of the Olympic spirit was still strong, and probably getting stronger. I was suprised at how busy the park was, even at this time in the morning as I made my way through the crowds to the staff entrance, but I still didn’t need to queue to get through the Gamesmaker check-in, which was nice. I picked up my penultimate range of goodies, this time a gold pin badge, which was nice, grabbed some suntan cream, a cup of coffee and made my way into the office for 7am. As planned, I wasn’t late, we were all just arriving.

But why on earth were we here so early today? Well today was the start of the Decathlon, which kicked off at 9am, not 10 am like the rest of the events, hence us needing start an hour early. We and they had lots to do!

Straight out onto the Tribunes we went, we couldn’t hang about this morning, so we got working as soon as we could. Everything was a hive of activity, and even more of the press and media were about this morning, getting ready themselves for the main event. Although there would be other events this morning, the focus would be on the first day of competition for the Decathlon. There were a lot of athletes competing today, and lots of press too.

We quickly got to work, checking equipment, swapping any that was faulty, and making sure everything was ready. We were well skilled in this now, like a well oiled machine, and we were finished well in time for the start of the events this morning.

We were getting used to the stars that we saw each morning, a vairety of national and international TV presenters, radio presenters and other associated media. Most we would smile to, some we would say good morning to, and on occassion we would share a few words with some. However we were all working, so we were keen not to disturb them, or cause ourselves problems by not completing our rounds in time.
This morning was different though, well for me it was anyway. Today was the Decathlon, and reporting on one of the many radio stations that broadcast from the Arena, was Daley Thompson. Daley Thompson for me was a local hero, he used to train at our local lesiure centre, when my mum worked there on the reception desk. And it was during this time that he was performing on the world stage, and ultimately winning his Olympic gold medal in 1984. I had already walked past him during my rounds, and didn’t speak to him as he looked pretty busy on the phone and getting ready for his slot on the radio, so I thought it best not to disturb him.

But that was a while ago and now we had finished our rounds, and I could see Daley from where we were standing. I pondered for a bit on whether I should pop over and say hello, but he was still busy on the phone.
And all of a sudden, he was off the phone, and in a rare moment, I made a snap decision, and decided I would sieze my once in a lifetime chance to meet an Olympic champion!
I walked up to him, smiled and said good morning. Offering my hand he smiled and shook it. Wow what a grip, a proper grip, a proper handshake. I was turning into a sort of mush in awe of this truely great athlete, so I quickly explained that I was from the same town he used to train in, and really wanted to say hello, and sorry for disturbing him. His smile was huge, and we spent a few moments discussing the past, and what had happened to the old leisure centre that he used to use. He still lives relatively close and mentioned that he had used the new centre too, which although didn’t have the same memories was still a very nice, and well equipped centre, the pool is olympic sized too! We spoke some more, and I thanked him for his time and mentioned that I enjoyed watching him win his gold medal, an awesome time.
And that was it, I made my way back to the rest of the team, now I had the huge smile on my face.
Of course I forgot to get a photo, which I would regret later on, but for the moment, I was happy, I had met an Olympic legend!

Back in the IT office, we were split up again, and again today I would get the upper tribunes to manage and look after. Popping my camera in my pockets, and making sure I had some food, I made my up to the upper tribunes, via the tea and coffee area to grab a bre of course.

The events were awesome, so much going on, so much to watch. We of course had the odd machine to look over, but as we had completed our morning checks we often didn’t get many faults, and could therefore enjoy the events. We did spend some time on crowd control, making sure that members of the public didn’t sit in restricted areas, and continued to watch the systems, and make sure we were ready in case we were needed.

Mid jump.

Mid jump.

Wenlock running on the track

Wenlock running on the track

To be continued.

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