Tag Archive: Gamesmakers


So the last event of the London 2012 Olympic Games had just finished, but there was still a lot more to see and do in the Olympic stadium, and the crowd wouldn’t be going anywhere for a bit either!

Although the events had finished, the night was not yet over and we still had a lot of the medals ceremonies to complete, but no one was going anywhere, we all wanted to stay and witness the closure of one of the best nights of sports in our lives.

I’m not sure how it must have felt for the athletes, but we were all waiting eagerly for the medal ceremonies to start. Keen to properly recognise them for their hard work tonight, years of training paying off in that one moment under the spotlight. Most of them were making their way through the round of TV and media interviews, and we would have to wait a bit for some of the medal ceremonies to start, but none of us minded we were looking forward to it all, and it was a nice pleasant if a little chilly night too.

We watched many medal ceremonies taking place before us, and we stood for all the national anthems. Although we were working there, it was important that we joined in and showed our respect for all the nationalities that were being represented.

Soon it was time for the medallists from the 4×100 metres final team to take to the podium. The crowd were in awe of what they had seen tonight, and richly rewarded all the teams who received their medals. Of course the crowds biggest cheer was reserved for the winners, the Olympic champions and new world record holders!
And they celebrated in style, once the national anthem had finished, each one of them stayed on their podium place and performed their unique poses for the crowd, who lapped it all up, we all did, the stadium was lit up by thousands of camera flashes as we tried to capture the spirit and the emotion of the evening. But we couldn’t capture the noise, that would just have to stay part of our memories.

There was still more to come, the 10,000 metres final medal ceremony. We had waited the entire evening for this, and now we would be rewarded.

It was time for Mo to step onto the podium, the number one spot, and the crowd went wild again. It was almost as if every single person there had kept something back a bit earlier, because the noise seemed even louder that earlier. I couldn’t believe it, but we all loved him, and it showed, again everyone in the stadium was standing up, even the press and media, the camera teams, the presenters the whole lot.

We sang our national anthem, loudly and with effort and enthusiasm, and of course totally worshipped Mo. It was his moment, he was number one, and we made sure that he knew it!

And then it was over, he stepped off the podium, and made his way to the press who were waiting trackside to speak to him. The stadium remained full though, no one had left yet, they were all still straining to catch another glimpse of Mo.
Then all of a sudden mid way through his interview with the press, he was joined by a fellow athlete.

Usain Bolt, who had only an hour ago run across the finish line for the 4×100 metres performing the MoBot came out of the press and media interview area in one of the stadium tunnel entrances where he was being interviewed and joined Mo.
He hugged Mo and grinning they both chatted with each other, congratulating each other on their wins I hope!

And then, we were witness to a scene that appeared in so many photographs sent around the world, appearing on TV, in papers and magazines. Mo and Usain on the top step of the medal rostrum, each performing the others signature pose. An event that we were lucky to see live, in the flesh, there in front of us. A fitting end to the evenings events, and the London 2012 Olympics.

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And that was it, the end. Well not really.

Yes the spectators were now leaving, but we still had work to do. We had all the PCs and screens to shut down for the evening, which we proceeded to do. There was still quite a few of us about, and most of us had been outside in the tribunes watching the final events, so it didn’t take us long, and within about 30 minutes we were back in our IT room for the last time.

We still had some stuff to do, so we packed up a few items, and generally tidied the place up. None of us really wanted to leave or say good bye, and we agreed to keep in touch, taking notes of e-mail addresses so that we could stay in contact and relive our memories.
We took and posed for photos whilst we were in the office, making sure we captured as much as we could before we left for the final time. And we readied ourselves to leave, making sure we had all our stuff to take home with us. But before we would leave, our IT manager suggested an idea, lets get out there onto the track and get some group photos. We all agreed that this was a great idea, promptly dropped out belongings and made our way to the entrance tunnel (where the flame was) and made our way out into the stadium.

But there was a problem, before we could get out onto the track, we were stopped, by an official who forcibly informed us that as the closing ceremony was being set up, no one would be permitted onto the track. We explained that we only wanted to take a few group photos, but she was clear, even with our pass levels, we were not permitted onto the track tonight.

Undeterred we hatched a plan, we would still get onto the track tonight, but via a different route. We headed upstairs to the flame viewing area and took some group photos there first.

Some of the great team I got to work with.

Some of the great team I got to work with.

We took lots of photos, far more than I can show here, but we made sure that we captured everyone and made sure that each camera had some photos from the evening on them.

And unchallenged, we made our way down to the track. It was busy down there, lots of things going on, lots of machinery bringing in the closing ceremony set, so we didn’t hand around for long, but we again got some pictures , and walked around a bit, until we got back to the relative safety of the media and TV areas, and we still had work to do!

My feet on the London 2012 Olympic track

My feet on the London 2012 Olympic track

We spent the rest of the evening packing up some of the PCs and screens that were no longer required. Although the closing ceremony was to be televised, many of the media and TV companies were packing up and many of the shots of the closing ceremony would be supplied by the OBS rather than the TV companies own cameras and systems. So we let them pack up, and worked around them, although to be honest, most had already upped and left.

So we continued our work, packing up and making sure everything was neat and tidy. We took some more pictures, and we got a few pics of us on the track, and then before we knew it we had finished our tasks and we could make our way down to the office.
Some of us picked up some left over booty on our way, mainly the press event guides and the odd few bits left out and about, but not too much.
We took a final look back over our shoulders at our workplace for the last 4 weeks, and revelled in the sight before us. It had been a fantastic time, probably one of the times of our lives, we had seen and experience so much and enjoyed it so much. We would be sad to leave it behind, but our time there had been epic and would provide so many memories for such a long time and while part of me wished I could be there as part of the Paralympic team, another part of me was pleased that someone else would get to work here and see the amazing sights, feeling the amazing atmosphere.

Using the press and media lifts for the last time, we made our way back downstairs. The door people had now long gone, only us and the closing ceremony crew were still there and our passage through the stadium was easier again.

We arrived back in our office, most of us worn out, but happy, and sad too. We surveyed our office, took some final snaps, and packed away all our goodies. We noted down e-mail addresses and agreed to keep in touch (or at least try too) and said our goodbyes. We collected our final few extra goodies, pin badges (if we had completed a number of shifts we could get a bronze silver or gold IT team member badge, pretty rare these ones!) and other bits we may have snaffled!

And then it was time to leave, for the final time. A few of us picked up our stuff and left together, through our entrance tunnel past the flame for the final time. I took a few cheeky snaps of the props for the closing ceremony being taken out onto the field of play, and left to the sound of the security team shouting at me not to take any pictures! Oh well, sorry!

Making our way out of the stadium, past the security gates and the entrance ways for the last time, we stopped a few times to take pictures and take in the view for the last time. It was a beautiful night, and a fitting end to our time there.

And then, we were outside the park, making our way to Stratford station, a few final snaps, and goodbyes and then there I was alone in the station (well there were lots of others there, but all my colleagues had gone). A few final pictures of the station, and then I was on a tube heading south.

The rest of the journey was largely uneventful, and I sat contemplating what I had been part of. A truly amazing time, and I genuinely wished the Paralympic games volunteers the best, hoping that they too would enjoy the stadium as much as I had.

And that was it, well sort of, could I really keep away????

You know the drill by now.

We said goodbye to the day shift, and wished them well, it was unlikely we would ever see any of them again, so we parted like old friends agreeing that we should all meet up one day, and maybe just maybe we should volunteer for Glasgow, or Rio. Some would be back for the Paralympics, but most wouldn’t, and a couple would be here tomorrow night for the closing ceremony, lucky devils. I would not, and like many others here tonight, this would be my last shift here.

We were still a bit early for our shifts though, and as the morning shift had completed all the activities we had about 30 mins to fill before we were needed. I showed a couple the snaps I had taken of the flame to my fellow gamesmakers, and one was keen to have her own picture taken next to the flame too and being the gentleman I am, I was happy to help. We made our way to the flame area, and took a few pictures. I had kept my camera with me, so took a few more, focussing this time on the area where we would be working later. As the press and media cameras were all located here, it wasn’t often that people got to see this area, so I was keen to make sure it was captured.

The Flame, Union Jack and Olympic flag

The Flame, Union Jack and Olympic flag


The press and media area, showing the upper tribunes

The press and media area, showing the upper tribunes


The press and media area showing the lower tribunes.

The press and media area showing the lower tribunes.

We mooched around for a bit, but we couldn’t stay long, we had to be back in the office, ready for our evening briefing.
Our briefing kicked off, tonight would be a biggie, with some large events, many finals tonight, including the 10k metres and the 4×100 metres final. There were others too, and some medal ceremonies from earlier that also needed to be completed.
We were told to be on our best behaviour, as tonight was so big, and also that it would be a late one, so be prepared.

We received our tasks from our IT manager for the last time. I would be in the upper tribunes tonight, I didn’t mind the view was fantastic, and I knew that I would experience lots from up there, and be able to take some brilliant pictures.
And on the subject of pictures, we all got together in the office and took some pics there too, not beautiful, but key memories, of friends and colleagues and well, stuff in general.
And off we went, off to our last shifts, taking what we needed, jackets drinks, cameras etc and made our way out of the office, past the door keepers, making sure we said hello, and smiled and chatted with them for a bit. And we were on our way, up to the tribunes, taking it all in for the final shift.

We picked up some refreshments and made our way to the IT support area for the evening. Most of us had brought our cameras with us, and we took as many pictures as we could. Here is one of me, I know I haven’t shared any with me in them yet, but here is proof I was there (yes that is me, I promise!)

Me, honest, and this was our technical area for the evening, a fantastic view too.

Me, honest, and this was our technical area for the evening, a fantastic view too.

We settled down for the evening, ready and waiting for any faults to come in. We generally got the odd one, but largely because of all the preparation that we carried out each time, our actual shifts in the tribunes during competition time were largely quiet. We had already dealt with most of the problems by the time competition had started, and we were so well versed now, that most problems could be resolved in minutes, even if we needed to swap out equipment. Tonight was no exception, well prepared and well versed we quickly fixed any of the issues that arose and a lot of time tonight was spent watching the events below us.

We took lots of pictures too, of the events, and colleagues and our surroundings. We also kept in touch with other events happening in other stadiums. Tonight was also the final of the diving, and although our systems couldn’t show us the events in the other arenas, we were able to keep abreast of progress via some of the apps on our mobiles, which meant that we were well informed of what was going on in the neighbouring arenas.

By the time competition started, the stadium was full to bursting, every seat filled, the press and media areas were full, and when I looked around, I couldn’t see any empty seats, it was an amazing sight.
And the spectators were in a fantastic mood, cheering every event, getting behind every athlete in the stadium, acknowledging that they were watching the best of the best, in the world.

I mentioned before, how the spectators would cheer everyone, and show their appreciation, and tonight I would see it a few times.
The first time was when Mo Farah’s time came to shine. He was already an Olympic champion, and he was quite rightly greeted like one. The sound was incredible when he walked onto the track, but this was nothing, it paled into insignificance against what we were about to hear and see.
Again the crowd fell silent as the we watched them take their places on the track. You could hear a pin drop. And then Bang, the gun goes off, and the noise from the crowd could rival a plane taking off. But this time it was different, you could hear the cheering move around the stadium as Mo was running around the track. Every time he went past, the noise would increase, and you could follow him and the noise as he continued to run.
But this was nothing, a mere prelude to what would come.
The final lap. By this time the crowd were in a total frenzy, the cheering had escalated to almost beyond comfortable, no longer was it following Mo as he ran around the track, it was all around, and as he came along the final straight, it seemed it couldn’t get any louder. Well until he crossed the line that is, and then I am sure we almost took the roof off the stadium, and I reckon you could have heard us in the Shard (with the windows closed!).

And I saw something I hadn’t seen before.

We were used to the spectators giving standing ovations for many events, not all but certainly a few, and this was no exception. We knew that the press and media had to work hard out there, often in not the best of conditions and therefore although they noticed what was going on, they would rarely cheer or join in with the celebrations, which was understandable, there were there to do a job and many of them were long standing professionals, and you could hardly cheer mid way through an important broadcast now could you! But this time was different, the spirit of the London 2012 Olympics had taken a firm hold, this time for the first time in my time there, we witnessed all the press and media standing too, every last one, standing, clapping and cheering. It was one of my most memorable times there, a vision that will stay with me for the rest of my life, everyone who could stand did, and everyone regardless of their nationality cheered and celebrated. It was a very moving spectacle.

And there was more. The spectators were in the mood tonight, and for every final they cheered and acknowledged the performances of the world class athletes before them.
And then

Well you knew it was coming, if you have been following this blog, you know what to expect!

Usain Bolt
The spectators love him, and he loves the spectators. Cheering his every move his every action. He was playing to the crowd, and the Gamesmakers on the track, and everyone loved it.
Tonight he would again perform for us, showing us just how good he was and also how much of a team player he was too.
The noise was immense, this was the last event of the night, and the crowd had already been whipped up into a frenzy by the earlier events, every one.
Silence as they took their positions on the track, waiting for the starter to fire his pistol, and then wham, a wall of noise, cheering, willing, demanding a good race, and they got it.
By the time Usain Bolt took the baton, the entire stadium was on their feet. I could hardly hear now, the noise was so loud, I had ringing in my ears.
And the team won, a thrilling final, the crowd remained wild, still standing they gave another standing ovation, and as Usain crossed the line, he again showed us all what a truly nice person he is.
How? Why?
He ran across the line, performing the MoBot.
What an individual, here he was helping his team to win the 4×100 metres, and yet he takes the time not to revel in his own glory, but to recognise the performance of a fellow athlete in a completely different event. He again showed us, that yes he does perform to the crowd, but underneath it all, he is a really nice person.

Oh and they broke the world record too, just to add some icing onto the cake.

And it didn’t end there, oh no, not by a long way, although the events had finished, there was still a lot going on, and a lot more to come.

So we managed to get home from the Orientation day, and even the GF managed to attend (partly because a couple of weeks later the snow had receded a bit!)

As with most of this process, there were periods of high intensity, weeks of e-mails and specific days, and then months where nothing happened.
This did not change even after our Orientation event, it all went quiet until March, when a flurry of e-mails announced that i had some role specific training scheduled for the 14th June, and an opportunity during May to pick up my uniform.

I also got to carry out some on-line training, which was nice. All was going very well, and now was starting to become ever more real.

I recieved an e-mail in March letting me know that I could pick up my uniform and pass card (accreditation) end of May 2012 ooooh, now it was getting serious, but then I got another e-mail, advising me that as a result of increased efficiencies, that I would be able to pick my uniform up on the 31st April. Yay, bring it on.

The 31st April duly arrived, and I had booked my time slot for 13:00 – 14:00. I was already scheduled to be in London on the day, so I knew that it wouldn’t be too difficult to get to. It was another beautiful day and warm too, which wasn’t too good for travelling on the tube! So I made my way to the east end of London on a warm sunny day and after a short amount of time searching, I found the warehouse. They had tried to dress it up a bit, with some nice flags, but it was a warehouse, and once inside, it was a huge and warm warehouse!
Again just like in Wembley, I met many other volunteers, although hardly any of them spoke, it was a strangely quiet experience. I did speak to some of the other volunteers, however because of the way we were all processed, we were often split up, to receive different accreditation or uniforms.

So I collected my accreditation, it had a red band and a number 4 on it, Oh and the letters STA (which I assumed meant the stadium!) I tried to squint at some of the others accreditation, but couldn’t make out much as no one was particularly interested in sharing which was a shame. The few I managed to speak to did show their accreditation but none of them knew much about their roles either,so we sort of sighed a bit and continued to bumble along through the process.
I took a number and proceeded to the uniform waiting area. Lots of us here now, patiently waiting for our number to be called so that we could proceed to the next step. No ideas what it was mind you, but still eager.
Again all here were very quiet, all watching the video screens, showing what we could expect as volunteers at the London 2012 Olympics. Still nothing mentioned about my role 😦

After about 20 mins, my number was called. I proceeded to the first area, where we were to try on some trainers. Very professional they were, and the trainers looked quite nice too. My foot size was noted on the uniform collection paper I had been given to hold as I proceeded through the process. Then another wait for a bit, less people waiting here, but still strangely not talking much 😦
I met a nice lady in the next section, who ushered me to a changing booth. She asked me what my clothing sizes were, I struggled to remember, muttering, 15, 32 and 34 ish leg I think. She smiled and promptly responded oh a medium then! I duly tried the outfit on (I was wearing a suit, so had a lot to change), it fitted, looked ok, and that was it we handed the clothing back to the supervisors and proceeded onto the next section.

The final sections were collection of uniform, more paperwork, checkout then pick up of Osytercard. So we all proceeded through the collection, getting a bag and then all the clothing was put into the bag, yeah 🙂
So then we went to the check out section, and waited for about 10 mins, only for us to empty our bags, get all the items scanned, pick up a receipt and then re-pack our bags. I have to admit, this puzzled me, why couldn’t it all have been scanned when it went into the bag the first time, we could have saved nearly 15 mins! Picking up my Oystercard was the final section, and that was it, the end of the process, released back into the bright sunshine, now to make our way back via the London DLR and underground home. Some strange looks on the way, but nothing too major.

I got home, and checked it all out, left each item unopened though, no sense in trying it out too early, I still had 3 months to go before it would be needed. Despite the cries from my family and friends, I refused to try it on, they were not happy bunnies, but I was resolute!

Next step actual training, and my first proper look at the Olympic park!