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Olympics - a distant glow?

Olympics - a distant glow?

 After various interviews over the past few years I finally heard in January this year that I had the opportunity to be a National Olympic Committee Assistant. To briefly explain the set-up, every country competing is known as an National Olympic Committee and the person in charge of the NOC is known as the Chef de Mission. My role was to be a Personal Assistant for this person. Myself and other countries' assistants attended monthly training sessions in London, driver training and village training in Weymouth.

In May I was allocated the Malaysia team, which was a bit surprising as I didn't speak any Malaysian, and I had to go and look up the country on a map. However when the team arrived in Weymouth a couple of weeks before the Olympics began, the team coach was Croatian and everyone spoke better English than me, so everything was fine. I was based in Weymouth from the 15th of July to the 14th of August and my job was to sort out anything that the team wanted doing. This was things like booking accommodation for officials that weren't staying in the village, transporting the team around in the LOCOG BMW car, sourcing boat parts, sorting out the team rib with Olympic branding, buying halal food every day and making pack lunches to take on the water.
I would arrive at the village just before 8am and would finish about 8-9pm. Generally things were really busy at the beginning and end of the day. It would be really quiet in the middle of the day when the team would go on the water, and I'd take the opportunity to watch the racing or I'd help out another team. One day I had an interesting experience whilst been driven around by the Chef de Mission from a very small tropical island. I was helping him to find accommodation and finding the journey quite terrifying as Weymouth has many roundabouts and we were going over them at full speed without pausing, much to the annoyance and car honking of other drivers. Not wanting to offend him, I kept quiet until a near crash when I screamed and said "we really need to give way at roundabouts" and I got the response "What's a roundabout?". It turned out they don't have roundabouts on this particular island. Another memorable experience was when the Secretary of State of Malaysia arrived to watch the laser sailor. Racing hadn't started and it was a day without  a breath of wind. The poor sailor had to energetically bounce round the boat roll-tacking  around the rib to demonstrate how it worked, and I think gave an extremely strange view of sailing to the Secretary.
It seems cliched to say, but it really was an unforgettable month. I'd urge anyone who can to try to get to Rio in 2016. I know I'll be there!!

Julia Noble

Posted on 25 September 2012 (Archive on 23 October 2012)
Posted by 1047  Contributed by 1047


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