Well, I don't know about you but I have a massive sense of pride after the last few weeks! Not only have our athletes done amazingly well and received so many medals, but I think that London has been a brilliant host to the games and I am so proud to have been a part of it!
My story starts in Darwin, Australia in 2010. After a short call home to my parents and being reminded of the closing date to apply, I spent an hour or so in a small internet cafe completing the application form. I then carried on with my travels and returned home at the end of 2010, forgetting I'd even applied along the way. 200,000 people applied and I was one of 100,000 that were asked to an interview, mine in January 2011. I still remember my first interview and the buzz that was in the air with the opportunity of being part of history. I soon found out that I was one of 70,000 successful applicants and that I would be part of the Olympics. I had to attend various training days and test events to learn my role and the safety procedures.
I was on the Technology Team at the ExCeL working behind Fencing and Taekwondo. At first I wasn't too thrilled about the sports I was going to be involved with but I got to learn something new about two sports I didn't know much about. By the end of my shifts I was able to understand the rules enough to enjoy watching the sports. I really enjoyed watching Team GB Men's Team in Fencing and I got to see Jade Jones win the first ever medal for Team GB in Taekwondo, which happened to be one of our many golds! What an amazing night that was!
I worked for 9 out of the 16 days, some days starting at 7:45am and some days finishing gone midnight. I'd work between 6 and 10 hours a day and I'd be on my feet taking results to different parts of the ExCeL all day. I've never been so tired before but it really has been an amazing experience and I would do it all over again.
It's hard to sum up my time as a Game Maker in a few (or many) words. The experience was priceless and one that I will remember forever. I never thought I'd get emotional over sports, but I have basically spent the last two weeks teary eyed or crying because the atmosphere was so overwhelming. I got to meet some interesting and brilliant people that I would never usually be able to meet. I've met some new friends who I'm sure I'll be meeting up with again soon. I've had the time of my life.
At the beginning of the Olympics there was so much negativity towards it, some people didn't really understand why I'd give up my annual leave and spare time to work and not get paid. I'd respond with "it'll look good on my CV" or "it gets me out of work" but what an amazing experience to volunteer for your country on one of the biggest events ever. I'm so proud that I was a volunteer for London 2012 and part of history! If I had the opportunity, I would do it all over again. I absolutely loved watching the Closing Ceremony and I actually cried my eyes out when good old Seb Coe mentioned how well the Games Makers had done and the applause went on and on and on. I think it was at that point that I realised what I had actually been doing and what it meant to be part of the Olympics.
I have now packed all my Game Maker uniform and gifts we received in to a vacuum pack bag for safe keeping. A lot of the uniform, pins and 'thank you' presents have appeared on eBay, but I will be keeping mine. On my application form I said that I would be interested in working at the Paralympics, but I have not been asked to. In a way I am pleased so I can now enjoy watching as much of the Paralympics as possible and I'm hoping to get tickets for anything, just so I can experience being a part of the crowds. I really hope that the Paralympics are as successful as the Olympics because I think sometimes in previous years they can be forgotten about which is so wrong. The adverts Channel 4 have for the Paralympics make me think they are going to be brilliant. - "Thanks for the warm-up".