The day after the beginning and by god was I pumped and ready for action. Having tasted and experienced what was to come I was pretty wide awake to take my role forward. Well thats what my brain was saying rather than my body. I’ll be honest, my feet were killing me from all the running about, so was my back and my feet had blisters that needed plastering. So with plasters in tow, feet a bit better and paracetamol in the bag I headed off…well more like hobbled off for my second shift.
Now I don’t know if you ever knew this but Stratford International is not the same as Stratford Station which is what I had thought. So having left Stratford International I could see the bridge that I was somehow supposed to get to yet it wasn’t very clear or obvious as to how I got over it…needless to say I was pretty lost and confused so I thought I’ll just head up this way, I managed to get out ok so why not see if they will let me in as well?
I headed up to one of the many village entrances, flashed my accreditation with the OLV upon it and all was well, easy peasy I thought. This entrance actually leads you to the main entrance in and out of the Athletes Village by which Athletes and all officials can then access various services and also get to the village accommodation at the back.
Heading thru Security it was pretty empty, all the staff standing round looking pretty bored and having a gab until they seen me and stated gabbing away to me, very friendly and polite. I always think its weird how I’m called sir at times when I’m only 21 years of age, then again they are just following protocol and it could all be said with baited breathe and gritted teeth. Though I was a bit concerned when they asked ‘Is this the Umbrella they gave you?’, I really wanted to say, ‘Do you honestly think I would buy a red and purple umbrella that says London 2012 on it?’, but me being nice and sweet held back with a ‘Yes it is’ and a small smile. It also rivals the standard Airport question of ‘Do you have any of these sharp objects in your bag?’, when they don’t even look at you and you go for the automatic default of ‘No’.
I don’t think it matters what time you end up entering the Village, its always quite busy. Go Karts going by, Gamesmakers heading here there and everywhere, the odd Village policeman walking about. I remember thinking if its this busy now whats going to happen when its properly open to all athletes etc?
I walked up to the NOC Services centre, our base effectively, to check on my emails, facebook etc and bumped into a few of the team. Needless to say I wasn’t the only one suffering from ‘blistergate’. We came to the conclusion that it must have been the LOCOG sponsored addidas socks as it was the only thing we were all wearing that could have done it. Nevertheless it takes more than a few blisters to deter the NOC AUS Assistants to stop powering thru.
In the morning it was much of the same, putting up more posters and finally finishing it all before lunchtime which we thought was pretty awesome if we do say so ourself 😉 Below are just a few of my favourites:
Now people may be like ‘what so you just put up posters? really that s what you were there for?’ and I must admit I could maybe have said that on the first day but then looking at the way all the people who work for the Australian Olympic Committee were running around and doing the various jobs they had on it just really goes to show that this meant alot to them. Afterall they want the athletes to feel completely welcomed and if that means putting up pictures of support in bedrooms for the athletes then thats what has to be done. The Village is their home away from home, their sanctuary. Some athletes, especially in the case of some of the Aussies, they’ve been in training camps in Europe for the past few months, ‘attempting’ to climatise to the weather. Unfortunately I think that hasn’t happened too much just due to our poor weather compared to the rest of Europe! But I really do think that the messages of support from the children back in Australia will really make a difference. For some they have to go wherever there are facilities and that could mean them leaving family, friends and loved ones just to continue their dream or there sport. I think some people may forget that being an elite athlete can also just be as lonely, if not more so, as everything else in life.
This afternoon actually consisted of some more room checking and additions of a few things, including a newly acquired ikea bath mat and air freshener as well as testing the hot water, flushing toilets, running water, beds up the correct way and opening the windows to get some air into the pretty stuffy rooms. Needless to say this didn’t quite go off with the way we expected it to.
We first started with the distribution of the air freshener from the top down, whilst another team did bath mats starting in the other block. Now the lift was giving us some ‘problems’ it quite liked jamming people in the doors unlike any other lift I have encountered which would automatically open. For some reason it just didn’t like us. Even when we pressed the button to keep it on hold, it din’t like that one bit. So, myself and the girl I was with, Katrina ended up re-enacting a few scenes out of challenge Anneka as we darted out of the lift placing two air fresheners at each door before the lift closed on us and our colleague was banished to the floor below. The fact that you could only carry a maximum of 6 comfortably made the ‘game’ more thrilling as you had to refill once you were done. I burned off quite a few calories in that ten or fifteen minutes. Then we were back up in Block B checking the apartments for any ‘issues’.
As there weren’t any dedicated toilets for people to use at this point people were just using the toilets in the apartments, why not they are all working…or so we thought and eventually found out the hard way that they weren’t. You don’t flush a toilet before you use it so its not really the persons fault. We thought it would work! With regards to the beds not being the correct way up, they were only padded on one side so you could feel the springs straight away when you sat on the beds. We were to mark which weren’t the proper way and then housekeeping would have to flip them all etc. It later transpired that the mattresses have actually got arrows pointing in the direction that they should be facing. Was I surprised at this and the fact that they weren’t all the correct way? The kind answer is no.
Hot water…that didnt really exist at this point. Running showers for five minutes, well first off working to see how they would go on and which way was hot was pretty difficult to start with. I wonder how the athletes are going to manage that one because it took the three of us checking it a good ten minutes. It transpired that the water pressure was pretty lacking as well…well I say that but it wasn’t true for one shower. I was firstly on ‘bathmat duty’ then moving to check on the shower. This one apartment Katrina had just beat me to the shower so I continued on to the bedrooms opening windows as I went. you could hear the shower go and then came a massive clang and a screech from Katrina. Olga, the other assistant checking with us, and myself ran into the shower room to see the water coming down from where the shower head used to be. It turned out that Katrina had turned the tap and the pressure of the water literally made the shower head blow off.
Now if that had been an athlete that could have been pretty dangerous, I would have loved to have seen that headline ‘Athlete knocked out by Rogue Shower’. It only missed Katrina by an inch or so, but on the plus side we found out where all that pressure that was lacking in most of the rooms had went to!
Thankfully no one was hurt. Can you imagine if that was an athlete? It literally only missed Katrina by about an inch. Katrina recovered from her little scare and stayed well and truly away from all the showers after that point. I would have loved to have seen that headline ‘Athlete knocked out by Rogue Shower’.
We eventually managed to finish the task at hand with plenty of time to spare, so in true fashion we thought we would take advantage of the lovely views from the Aussie balconies. Needless to say, those athletes situated in these rooms haven’t a problem with any heights at all mainly due to the sport that they do, and that is all I am saying on that matter 🙂