My Games Maker Uniform

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.

www.dawndenton.wordpress.comI 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.

www.dawndenton.wordpress.comThe 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!

26 Comments on “My Games Maker Uniform”

  1. I was a GM as well, such a well written piece Dawn! Makes me miss the summer of 2012!

  2. Stuart Walsh says:

    Well composed. Nice piece.

  3. Penney says:

    Wonderful – exactly how I felt about the fabulous Summer of 2012. My purple and poppy extended to my nail polish, hair and the bracelets and earrings I made too 🙂

  4. Graham says:

    Well written Dawn….I was GM too

  5. stmarysadmin1 says:

    Lovely piece. I would put the blisters down to wrong size trainers being worn – I chose a size up from my usual size and they were the most comfortable pair of trainers I have ever worn. I even bought a spare pair.

    • Dawn Denton says:

      I agree! I was fine too, but did have the odd day when my feet ached from running around on a very long shift. All worth it though!

    • Jan Pearson says:

      As someone with ‘problem feet’ I found the trainers very comfortable but I sat at a computer for much of my shift. My team leader was rushing about all day and could not wear them. I saw a Physio after the Games about an unrelated problem and when she heard I’d been a Games Maker she said their referrals had gone up a lot for injuries and problems caused by the GM trainers because they provided no foot support. I guess it must be hard to cater for all needs with one style. For all the volunteering I’ve done since we’ve been asked to provide our own footwear in keeping with broad guidelines which probably makes sense.

      • Dawn says:

        Oh yes. I didnt have a problem at all and found them very comfortable and I was rushing about the Olympic Village. One of my colleagues couldn’t wear them so wore his own. We were near the Medical Centre and they said they treated more Games Makers with blisters and sore feet, than athletes. It really was such a great time, wasn’t it?

  6. Elaine Higham says:

    I’m still proud to wear my uniform,and will be wearing it at a event in China on the 24th February ……..

  7. I wonder what to do with my uniform now – it hangs in the cupboard all nice and clean but will I ever wear it again?

    • dawndenton says:

      I wore the trainers, but am also not sure what to do with the rest. I just have it to remind me of the amazing time we had! I am gong to miss it this summer!

  8. Jan Pearson says:

    I still wear my uniform when I sing with the Games Maker Choir. There were 120 of us from all over the country singing at Wembley yesterday performing 7 songs and the four national anthems at the Rugby League World Cup semi finals. The uniform and what it signifies still has an impact. We were applauded by the crowd as we walked off the pitch though this ended when they were distracted by the New Zealand Haka!

  9. Karthic says:

    Congrats, I was aGM at straford for tech operations in print distrubtion

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