The Phoenix Gamesmakers

| August 14, 2012

Phoenix Young Gamesmakers at Lee Valley statium

Johann Meeke describes Phoenix Canoe Club’s important contribution to the Olympic slalom competition at Lee Valley.

Phoenix Canoe Club, from North London, provided a Young Games Maker Team to print and distribute results at the competition, and we had a great time. After a selection process (team challenges) way back in January we were accepted to be part of the Lee Valley White Water Technology Team during the Olympics. We embarked on several interim training events to learn what it is to be a Gamesmaker, pick up security passes, uniform (we even got to like them) and then attend Venue Specific Training – VST in Olympic speak. As a club that uses the centre it was really wonderful to see how it had been transformed for the Games.

In passing, we were also given free tickets to the Opening Ceremony Rehearsal. What an amazing evening. We were asked to keep the surprise, but how would you start to describe it anyway? All we could do was tell people we absolutely loved it.

By the time the Canoe Slalom started we were hyped up and keen to get going. From our command room (just humour us), immediately next door to the judge’s office we had the perfect view of the course, large video screens and medal podium. When racing was on we had plenty of time to watch, often from outside our building in the warm sunshine. Fellow club members in the stands repeatedly texting that we were obviously slacking and us doing a team Mexican wave in return.

As soon as each heat finished we were in action. What followed was a 20 minute period of full-on stress as we raced to print results for 14 clients, each demanding up to 100 copies and all wanting them instantly. More than that, they wanted theirs first – yes there is a pecking order to be carefully explored and managed. After copying we were off – delivering around the course. In many cases having to sprint from one end of the site to the other repeatedly. We never did understand why electronic distribution via iPads wasn’t used instead – yet we weren’t complaining.

We gained extra kudos from being able to visit every single area of the site, including field of play (FOP),VIP lounges (called Olympic Family Lounges, OFL, in the jargon) plus athlete zones. Because everybody wants the official results! There were numerous checkpoints to maintain security and it was quite exciting to be able to dash through them in a very important manner. We all have to take our pleasures somewhere.

The games competitive spirit even spread behind the scenes with a wonderful atmosphere of shared fun. Each day workplace services (we were really well fed) ran a quiz with an Olympic theme. In our own area we ran a sweepstake on the days winners. In the bubble world of the Olympic games the currency for success became badges (an Olympic games tradition), which were eagerly sought and traded. The child is still in all of us.

On our final day we were all on the finish line to witness the Gold and Silver runs by our C2 teams. History was made and we were there!

We are pleased to have been part of this historic event. We are proud to have volunteered and feel our small investment of time was paid back many fold in memories and fun.

Thank you London 2012 from the Phoenix Canoe Club.

Image shows the Phoenix Canoe Club Young Gamesmakers. From Left to Right: Phil Atkinson – Assistant Team Leader / Preeya Joshi / Lizzie Meeke / Johann Meeke – Team Leader / Alex O’Neill / Sam Rice / Julia Denton / Jai Padhiar / Anton Chivers / Emily May Bak Oleson

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Category: Club news, News

About the Author ()

I enjoy exploring the UK’s wild spaces, rivers & seas, especially in & around London. I promote kayaking, canoeing & SUP opportunities across London at www.canoelondon.com and I walk away from the beaten track at www.remotelondon.com - Ian Tokelove