My Games Maker UniformPosted: February 13, 2013
Jonathan Edwards, a former British Olympic triple jumper said when the Games Maker uniforms were unveiled, “You won’t be able to move in London without seeing someone in one of these uniforms.” And how right he was!
The uniforms were not only Games Makers identifiers they were also instant friend magnets. On a train, a bus, in a crowd – if I saw anyone else in uniform, we would nod and smile at each other, and if neither of us were in a rush, we struck up a conversation. We would chat about everything to do with the Games, our different roles, the buzz in London and never, ever was anything negative. The conversation was always uplifting.
I suppose the most remarkable aspect of the uniform is the response I got from the public. People stood back for me and treated me a bit like a celebrity. On one occasion, on the Tube, a gentleman stood up to get off the train, walked past me, looked me straight in the eye and said, “Thank you for what you are doing! You are doing a great job!” A warm feeling flowed into every part of my body and my smile must’ve lit up the whole carriage. The uniform really did make us stand out in a crowd!
70,000 Games Makers, 6,000 paid LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) staff and 4,500 technical officials wore the uniforms in the Olympic venues and accommodation locations across the country. Most were like mine, but there were a few other styles too. The pink uniforms were for Ambassadors, placed across the Olympic venues to provide information to the public and the blue uniforms were for technical staff. I still liked mine the best, of course 😉
The red of the uniforms was inspired by the historic Grenadier Guards and some say the red represented the poppy, symbolic of the First World War. The purple it is believed was inspired by the colour of the queen’s crown (as it was also the Jubilee year) and was also apparently the favourite colour of the Queen Mother. The style of the uniforms was influenced by the 1948 London Games, Wimbledon and the Henley Regatta. And if you look at the outfits the Beatles wore on the cover of ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band’ album, you will see the same cuffs we had on our jackets. Now that is pretty cool!
There have been suggestions that the colours also reflected the two main sponsors of the Games – the purple for Cadbury’s and the red for Mc Donald’s. Mmmm, yes, but I like the historical influences and references better…
Adidas helped LOCOG design the uniforms. We each got a jacket, two light and easy to dry polo shirts, two pairs of (almost completely) waterproof trousers, a pair of trainers, two pairs of socks, a cap, a shoulder bag, a water bottle and an umbrella. And everyone thought we would be using the umbrella daily, but I did not even use mine once! We only had one morning of rain (while I was on shift in the Olympic Village) during the Games, which was just amazing considering it was the wettest summer on record.
LOCOG was adamant that the uniforms would be “produced in ways that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, minimise waste and other local environmental impacts, while also taking full account of responsible sourcing throughout the supply chain”. So, the shirts and the shells of the jackets were made of 100 per cent recycled polyester, and all the other items were made partially from recycled fabrics – the most they could – as sustainable as possible.
The High Street chain Next played a hand in the formal wear, which I didn’t get to see. The buttons on these jackets had silhouettes of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament and London’s skyline with her iconic buildings, was embroidered under the collar.
Most importantly the uniforms were functional and comfortable (although the medical centre will tell you that they had hundreds of Games Makers come in to get treatment for blisters from the trainers. I think it had more to do with the fact that we were on our feet all day, running about like crazies!)
And as a little thank you, we got a limited edition Games Maker Swatch watch…a lovely touch!
The night before my first shift I laid my unform out on the bed…it seemed surreal. I was about to embark on an adventure that would become one of the highlights of my life. I was so utterly overwhelmed! And of course I barely slept!
I do know that every Games Maker at London 2012 wore their uniform with pride! The very modern design reflected the spirit of the Games, Olympic heritage and British quirkiness…just marvellous!