When, last October, I found out that I had been chosen to be a Games Maker for the Paralympic Games I was so excited! I had applied to be a Games Maker as soon as the entries opened and was really looking forward to being a part of the Paralympics.
I was part of the Accreditation team working at the International Broadcast Centre and it was our job to print and validate the accreditation passes of all the journalists, photographers and broadcasters working at the Paralympic Games. Your accreditation pass has a photo of you on the front along with a list of codes which show the venues that you have access to. They are very important for security and without your accreditation you won’t be allowed into any venues. It is the most important thing to have with you at all times – if athletes forget theirs they won’t even be allowed to compete!
My volunteering started two weeks before the Paralympic Games began, and on our first day we arrived to a very quiet Olympic Park. The Olympic Games had just finished and all the signs, flags and venues were being changed to get ready for the Paralympics. The International Broadcast Centre was empty as all of the press had gone on a well-earned holiday after all their hard work during the Olympics!
As my volunteering went on, however, people started coming back to work, (of course collecting their accreditation from us first!) and the excitement about the Paralympic Games started to build. Once the athletes moved into the Paralympic Village I would see them training in the Park when I walked across to work in the morning.
I had two shifts during the Paralympic Games and the atmosphere in the Olympic Park was amazing! I’d been lucky enough to see some athletics during the Olympics and the buzz around the Park was just the same as before. This shows just how much excitement there is about the Paralympics in London and that it is viewed as the same as the Olympics, with everyone recognising that the athletes have trained incredibly hard and achieve amazing things despite their disabilities. The media attention that the Paralympics has had this year is much more than at previous Games and is a huge step forward for equality for Olympians and Paralympians alike.