Games Maker Orientation

The email arrived…

And the time had come! I was arriving at the Wembley Arena for my first training session as a Games Maker for London 2012.  It was icy in January in North London, and we all stood in the howling wind, not worried about the cold as this was the beginning of a journey of which we knew not what to expect….we were buzzing!

Seated in the high tiers I sat betwee two lovely gentlemen (lucky me!) and we instantly got chatting.  The one man had come from Norwich for the training and was a truck driver.  He knew he was doing some driving at the Games, but hadn’t been asssigned to a specific job as yet.

To my left was a man, cravat ‘n all, who had been in the navy and was orignally from Edinburgh but lives in Plymouth.  So very posh!  He too was to be driving at the Games and was so looking forward to it.

I was of course excited for them, but secretly I thought, “I am so lucky to have the best job at the Games!”.  As a National Olympic Committee Assistant (NOC Assistant), I would be based in the Olympic Village and would look after an NOC from a country for the duration of the Games, which would include driving the Olympic BMWs.  Yes, I definitely had a great Olympic role!

Our host for the afternoon  was Jonathan Edwards, former British triple jumper. You could tell he had been a presenter for the Olympic Announcement ceremonies during the IOC Sessions in Guatamala (2007) and in Copenhagen (2009). He was also a great choice to host the afternoon as he was the athletes’ representative for the Games, and he was looking at things from the perspective of the atheletes, which gave us a great insight into what to expect. He was so comfortable on the stage and he anchored it all so well. He just looked the part…

We were then introduced to Paul Deighton, Chief Executive of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).  He spoke about our role in making these Games happen for London and the country. A former investment banker, grammar school educated, with an economics degree, he came across like a man who knew what was happening. Confident and engaging, he too was pretty inspiring!

For a bit of fun there was a TV news desk set up, which acted as a news studio during the Games and the presenters sent the camera out to meet Games Makers to ask them about their roles and activities during the Games.  This really made me smile and got me all excited about getting my ‘teeth stuck’ into the Olympics.  I was going to be one of those Games Makers! Yippee!

Sarah Winckless was an impressive addition to the events. Sarah is a former British rower and won a bronze medal the at the Athens Games in 2004 with her Double sculls partner Elise Laverick. She has also been World Champion in 2005 and 2006.  Having retired from elite sport in 2009, Sarah is now a motivational speaker and a coach.

Sarah impressed on the Games Makers the difficulty of the role, but also the rewarding side.  She was interesting and engaging and I was overwhelmed by seening such a successful and talented sportswomen address us. She really must be great to see at a motivational talk as she was enthusiastic and outgoing in her approach. (

It was here too that we were introduced to the uniforms by the head of Human Resources. It seemed more real than ever before and I think the room started to feel they were all in this together as a group of Games Makers.

As part of the closing, Games Makers were randomly selected from the crowd to come onto the stage and ‘perform’ as part of  a fun sing-along, which was so bad it was funny!

The Final Countdown

And then, to end the afternoon’s session, a video of the wonderful Eddie Izzard  rounded things off  nicely with some humour and got the whole arena giggling.

With warm fuzzies I stayed to grab the last of the atmosphere as my fellow Games Makers filed out of the arena, and I just sighed…

The jouney had begun….

Dawn Denton ©

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