Our Olympics - part two
I was a driver; yes one of those people who not only got to steer a shiny new BMW, but also to wind up cab drivers by whizzing along the Olympic Lanes throughout London!
My role, in essence was to transport members of the Olympic family, and other notable important people, from place to place as they required. Sadly we weren't always as busy as the cab drivers, especially during the early days, when we spent more timing talking to each other than we did to any passengers!
In fact it was not until shift three, day five of the Games that I got my first passenger. But I hit the jackpot!!!
I arrived at the rowing venue to be greeted by Sir Steve Redgrave. In he jumped and, thanks to all the training, I delivered him safe and sound to his hotel. It transpired that during the journey, Bradley Wiggins won his road race gold to knock Sir Steve off the top of the pile (at least when it comes to most Olympic medals won by a Brit), but when he got in my car he was the greatest British Olympian!
Had I peaked too early?
Well yes, I had. The next few days were filled with a lot of waiting and a fair few passengers that no-one would recognise. I did see Boris Johnson though, and he said hello and thanked the few of us that were there for our help.
This seemed to be the message I got from all of my passengers. They were so pleased to be in London, so excited that it had been a great Games, so grateful for the help and attitude of the Games Makers; and just generally so imbued with a feeling of togetherness and joy. They felt that the UK had really got behind the games and I think that showed as the weeks went on.
My second to last day saw me “upgraded” and I became the designated driver for the day for the Secretary General of the Samoan Olympic Committee, and his assistants.
With this extra responsibility came extra privileges - a 5 series BMW - a different type of lunch voucher and, best of all, an access all areas security pass!!!! I put this to good use that afternoon as I wandered through and mingled with the athletes in the village itself.
I spotted quite a few famous faces including Sir Chris Hoy (who has now leapfrogged Wiggins and Redgrave in gold/medals won), although none bore a photo opportunity!! I did manage to get my hands on an Olympic torch though...
In total, I volunteered for 11 days. Some were busy, some were not, but it didn’t really matter as I felt proud to be doing my bit.
I may have not got into any of the venues, but that didn’t matter either. The atmosphere wherever you were, was electric. People simply loved the games and it touched on all of us, whether in the crowd at the Beach Volleyball or screaming at the TV as Mo crossed the line for his gold medal.
We all felt it was “our” games, we will all have our stories to tell, our favourite bits, our memories and I will have my own to tell and relive for many years to come, as one of the people that helped, in his own way, to deliver the Greatest Show on Earth.