From London to Rio: Two 2012 Gamesmakers tell their stories.
Some of our Team London Ambassadors swapped the streets of London this summer and travelled over 5,000 miles to volunteer at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Robyn and Mandeep share their experiences...
Being a Games Maker at the London 2012 Summer Olympics really reignited my love of volunteering. Following that, I sought out lots of new volunteer opportunities and that's how I came across the Team London Ambassadors programme. It is now my third year taking part.
When applications opened to volunteer at the 2016 Olympics in Rio opened I applied, never really imagining I would actually go! Volunteering at Rio 2016 has been an incredible experience. I was based in the Events Services Team at the beach volleyball arena on Copacabana Beach. Every day was different and included welcoming spectators (having my voice amplified on a megaphone along the beach!), checking tickets and showing spectators to their seats in the stadium.
The Olympics really is something special and I feel lucky to have been part of it twice. I have made lots of new friends, learnt new skills and discovered a great city. I can't wait to apply to volunteer at London 2017 and of course Tokyo 2020!
I was also a Games Maker at London 2012 and I jumped at the chance at volunteering again at another Olympic event. I have not been stationary in the last 4 years and have volunteered at many events from grass root sports to the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow. I joined the Team Ambassador programme in 2013 to show off the wonderful city I call home. Through Team London I have also volunteered at some major events in London.
I applied to Rio and encourage others to apply for events as they can always withdraw their application if they find they cannot attend. For me the application process went smoothly and I was assigned to Press operations at the Main Press Centre.
I was based in the Barra region which contained the main Olympic Park venues. My role was based in the Conference Centre. This was where delegations held press conferences to the global press and media. My role comprised of ensuring the conference room was ready for the press and media and the delegation. We were on hand to welcome them to the conference room and to ensure only the right people attended them.
Other roles were to hand out mics during question time to the journalists and to ensure the room was clean and tidy at the end for the next conference. My highlight was when both Michael Phelps and Jessica Ennis-Hill came to the centre and we were there to welcome them. I was unable to get photos with them but on another day I did get a photo with Jo Pavey and Greg Rutherford when they came in.
All my shifts were morning shifts so about 4pm I was free. I explored the other venues in the park and also had a chance to see some sports. There was also a chance to collect and trade pins which is the 'unofficial sport' of the Olympics.
On the days off I explored Rio and the highlights were Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf mountain. I went there just before sunset so the change from views in the daytime to night-time lights was amazing. I was also chosen to attend the British House one evening where athletes went to chill out and there I met most of the gymnastics team, the Brownlee brothers and some swimmers. The night ended with a party with a DJ. Unfortunately it rained so it felt like back home.
I bought a ticket for the Closing Ceremony and that brought the whole Olympic experience to a nice closure. It was certainly a different experience from London 2012 and hard to compare the two.