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Making The Games
September 9, 2012
Our presenter Steve Evans was one of those lucky enough to be made an Ambassador at London 2012.
With the Olympics and Paralympics now behind us, Steve tells us about his experience in his own words…
I arrived in London to collect my accreditation, ID badge and trilby from Olympic HQ in Blackfriars and continued on to my hotel near Heathrow Airport Terminal One, where I would be based for a week to carry out my role as a London Ambassador at the Paralympic Games.
Importantly, I had to remember where all the relevant landmarks are in the capital and how to get to them. I would no doubt be asked many questions by the thousands of people I would be greeting into the capital. Boris Becker was one of them as were numerous athletes, some with medals and Olympic and Paralympic torches, all with big smiles. Another Boris paid us a visit also, a certain Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, accompanying the Prime Minister, David Cameron.
It was incredibly busy. Flights were arriving and departing at lightning speed. Many people arriving to collect passengers also required our help. The range of help needed varied greatly from the directions to the toilets to specific questions such as “Can you advise me on what I can fit in to a day out in London? I only have four or five hours, but I would like to go to see Buckingham Palace and visit the Olympic stadium on as many different transport methods as possible, car, boat, bus, train and of course foot. And where do I get, and how much are the tickets?”
Athletes were easy, just some guidance and a helping hand to get to the Olympic Village. VIPs and dignitaries were a little more difficult to take care of, not wanting to trust me, but preferring to use their own drivers, or security. Eventually they also learned that they could trust me completely to ensure they were in safe hands.
Judging by the feedback received, I like to think I achieved the near impossible at times. Some people even came back to thank me later in the day, or left messages of support.
My ‘Dream Team’ of six came from all over the UK and the world. We dealt with the language barriers with amazing resourcefulness. We had Mandarin, my German, Spanish, Indian and French speakers in my team alone and of course English with various dialects, often with humorous consequences.
We sent a Chinese lady looking for Check In to a restaurant serving chicken. A German woman searching for bugs to store was in fact looking for Baggage Storage. All in a day’s work and so much fun at times.
We received the strangest of requests too. Some unrepeatable, others plain daft.
I answered most, but failed when asked if I knew a passenger’s cousin in Wales!
The demand for photographs was high, kisses as well, and occasional bartering for my uniform. I was given six pin badges for going beyond the call of duty. was taking then from me at any cost!
Some conversations made it a week to remember:
“You’ve done a good job pulling it all together, well done, great job!”
“But I am only here to help and guide you”. “You are part of this, you make it what it is, you are the person we see first and leave us with first impressions, and you should be very proud, you are doing an excellent job”.
It all culminated in an invitation to the athlete’s parade in the middle of London. What an honour!
I enjoyed every single minute. It felt good knowing I was helping and gave me such a great feeling of pride.
I will never forget my time at London 2012 – a once in a lifetime achievement.