Reflections of a Gamesmaker London 2012 Tim La Touche
Water PoloArenaI was appointed as a Gamesmaker(London 2012 volunteer) to carryout the role of Sports Statician atthe Water Polo Arena. My rolemeant that I sat watching thematches inputting information ona touch-screen tablet detailingshots, fouls etc. from players. Thisinformation was being instantlypublished on the internet and tovarious media outlets. Severalstages of training were involved inthe build up to the gamesincluding orientation training (atWembley Arena), venue trainingand role training (in the WaterPolo Arena at the test event inMay).
Time Out!We also had a full scale dress rehearsal on the day of the opening ceremony where somekids from local water polo clubs played a game with all the officials, volunteers, TVcameras and technology monitoring their every move. This game purposely containedsome extreme events to see how we would react – one of which we thought was sounlikely it amused us – but, blow me down, it then happened in the women’s semi-final.The USA coach called an illegal “time-out” when his team didn’t have possession of theball which resulted in a penalty for Australia – in the last second of the game – whichenabled the Australians to draw level and force the game into extra time (USA won inextra time and went onto to win the gold medal).
Last Second DramasThis was one of several dramas in the Water Polo Arena which included a last second“goal” that would have bought Spain’s men level with Croatia and which appeared tohave crossed the line in replays but was disallowed by the referees (video technologyis not used in water polo).But the most exciting drama occurred during the men’s Bronze medal matchbetween close neighbours Serbia and Montenegro when seven red cards werebrandished. This occurred as Serbia recovered from 11-8 down to win the match 11-12 in the last four minutes of the match. The photo above shows me lookingbemused (in uniform on the far left) and trying not to laugh as chaos descendsaround me.
Cameras After the first few days, I managed to work out that the cameras were likely to be on me when the coaches were walking past – which is why you can see me smiling (and slightly blurred) in the photo on the left behind the Spanish women’s coach!Mind you, I didn’t always get it right – asyou can see in the photo on the right asthe Serbian coach returns to his bench !Incidentally, the lady on my right is MarieDeschamps from Canada who becamethe first woman to referee an OlympicWater Polo final when she officiated atthe USA v Spain women’s final.
Beach Volleyball In my days off from the Water Polo Arena, there were plenty of other activities to keep me occupied. For instance, I was lucky enough to get tickets for the Beach Volleyball Arena at Horse Guards Parade. It lived up to its reputation as the most fun-filled venue at the Olympics with a dancing troupe, amusing commentators and lots of spectator participation. It also provided the one-off view of London’s skyline on the top left. The photo below shows my friend, Tamsin, and I in the crowd.
Jessica Ennis I also made several visits to the BT London Live arena at Hyde Park where large screens showed various Olympic events and Team GB medallists were introduced to the crowd. On one of the days that I went, Jessica Ennis was introduced to the assembled fans ..... and was BOOED! To explain - this happened as she was being interviewed by Jonny Vaughan and said she would be celebrating her success with her friends, family and FIANCE (the boos obviously led by the single men!). I am standing on the right of this photo…
The Big Wheel One of my trips in my second week was to the BT London Live event at Victoria Park where they had a 60m wheel which I rode on. The view from the top was fantastic.
Going HomeOne final reflection.I was making my way home to Bath from Islington via Paddington on the evening of the closingceremony on Sunday 12 August 2012. Laden down by a large case and two large bags, I decidedto travel via Oxford Circus in the hope that it would be provide me with a level walk from theVictoria Line to the Bakerloo line avoiding any steps. However, when I eventually found the linktunnel and turned a corner, much to my consternation, I was confronted with a flight of stairs! AsI stopped to lug all my stuff up, cursing to myself (or so I thought), a young lad who was the onlyother person around and had already climbed these stairs, came back down and, to my delightand surprise, offered to carry my suitcase up the stairs (and down the other side). A lot has beensaid about the great atmosphere generated during London 2012 – but this act of kindness morethan anything epitomised the generosity that was shown.