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Valerie Hazan on leading a security team

5 September 2012

Valerie with the Olympic Torch

I am a Professor of Speech Sciences in UCL Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences. 

I’ve watched the Olympics since I was a kid so as soon as I heard that London had been successful with its bid, I was determined to be part of the Games.

As the only hurdles I was ever likely to jump over were practical ones, I applied to be a Games Maker and was eventually given the role of Team Leader in the Security team at the Olympic Park. With a different group of 10 or so Games Makers each day, we worked 8-hour shifts, either checking tickets at the Stratford (very busy) or other (very quiet) perimeter gates or loading bags onto the conveyor belts for x-ray scanning by the military or G4S staff.

The lows: dealing with irate spectators without tickets who were desperate to get access to the Park, standing at a quiet gate in the pouring rain for hours on end.

The highs: seeing the excitement of spectators coming to the Park for the first time, hearing the roar from the stadium on the first morning of athletics and the cheers in the workforce canteen every time Team GB got a medal, the friendliness and team spirit of all involved in the Games.

OK, it would have been nice to be the Games Maker carrying Mo Farah’s kit off the track but, overall, a great experience even if not in the most exciting or glamorous of volunteer roles.      

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