Diary of a London Games-maker: Nothing like hard work

In the Swan last week, towards the end of one of Tom's legendary pub quizzes, I got into a conversation with a lady at an adjacent table.

"Were you a Games-maker?" she asked, spotting my bright red Swatch.  "So was I! Where were you based?"

"Lord's," I told her. "For the archery. How about you?"

"Greenwich Park," she said. "During the Paralympics."

Greenwich Park, equestrian venue for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

We exchanged a few more pleasantries, and then she said "It was hard work, wasn't it?"

Before I could reply, the quiz answers started being read out, so I never gave her a response.  Had I been able to do so, though, my honest answer would have been, "No, it wasn't.  Not where we were."

As much as I'd like to claim lots of credit for my Olympian efforts, the truth is that as a member of the accreditation team at Lord's I often had very little to do.  My Dad had suspected as much, and I'm afraid to say he was right.  Most people coming to the venue already had accreditation; they didn't need us.

We had a bit of fun over the first few days, sorting out security guards and day passes and such like, but pretty quickly our responsibilities dried up.  Before long, we found ourselves on pink board-checking duties, or volunteering to assist other teams.  My favourite of these was attaching a table skirt to the table in the press conference room.  At least that meant I appeared in the media by proxy*.

By the time the Games were underway, our primary role was to check if World Archery had requested any VIP guest passes, and then wait to see if the guests turned up.  Often they didn't, at least not until the medals were being handed out, so my VAHOmies and I frequently found ourselves twiddling our thumbs.

Fortunately we had an office TV for much of the time, so we were able to watch whichever live sports we fancied.  Fortunately, we also had upgrade cards that enabled us to wander around Lord's with relative impunity: sometimes we went into the pavilion to watch an archery match.

Unfortunately, especially of a long afternoon, it could get somewhat dull.  It was great to be part of the Games, don't get me wrong, but the team and I wanted more action.

We were very grateful when a huge box of chocolates was brought into the office a couple of days before our Games-making duties finished.  At least then we were able to excel at three things for which Britons are undoubted world-beaters: sitting on our arses. eating confectionery, and watching the telly.

Tuck in, gents!



*Yes, I helped put up that magnificent purple table skirt, for which Pat (standing behind the US medallists) was extremely grateful.

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