Vol-un-teer (pronunciation – vol-uhn-teer):
1. a person who voluntarily offers him/herself for a service or undertaking.
2. a person who performs a service willingly and without pay.
Yesterday I had my second and last training session – venue training.
It was very interesting hearing about the work and planning of the Village.
We were taken on a walk round of the Village. Again, it was interesting to hear about everything that has been thought of or provided to ensure the athletes are comfortable and to allow them to compete at their ultimate best…from the mattress they sleep on to the games they play in the relaxation area.
There are two dining areas, one for athletes and officials and one for the workforce. Yesterday, as a special treat, the workforce were invited to eat in the main dining area. There were all kinds of things to eat from Asian, Italian, Continental, and McDonalds! I went for the Asian and had a chicken/prawn/veggie/noodle stir-fry, it was very tasty. All the menus in the Villages (except McDonalds) are devised by Canadian Chef, Michael Smith, who is on a cookery channel here in Canada.
A few Village stats on residents:
Olympic Games: 2840
Paralympic Games: 1100
Olympic Games: 2730
Paralympic Games: 350
After lunch I still had part of my shift to complete and I joined one of the resident service centres. Although the athletes have still to arrive there are many officials from the teams already hard at work in the Village, some have been there for over a week. They arrive early to set up office space, make sure the IT is working. Even although there is a huge polyclinic in the Village, many of the teams bring their own medical staff and have a dedicated medical area for their athletes within their accommodation. A huge amount of preparation is done by the advance groups of officials.
One thing that’s common in the Village at major team events is decorating the accommodation with flags, bunting, lights and anything else that marks out the territory of the team/nation, it is their piece of country within the Village. I recall many a Commonwealth Games where I helped the Canadian team hang up many flags and other Canadian materials that clearly lets you know who lives in that part of the Village. It also lets the athletes feel at home. The Aussies are also big on dressing their area – flags with the boxing kangaroo all over the place. All this dressing adds extra colour to the Village and brings the place alive.
Yesterday the Slovenians were dressing up their accommodation but they needed some materials and it became my job to source a ladder, hammer and some nails for them. Following a wee jaunt to logistics I came back with the items. There are Slovenian flags hanging outside the accommodation. I am expecting further requests for a hammer in the coming days.
Today is the official opening of the Village and there will be a ceremony to mark the occasion. And from this day onwards the athletes will start to arrive in town and the workforce will go from being busy to very busy. Today I start my first full shift from 14:30 to 23:30 but I am going in early to see the opening ceremony. It will be a long day but it will be fun.
The Olympic Torch is getting closer and will be in Whistler tomorrow (more on the Torch then).
Oh, and I woke to this view this morning.