7:40am Thursday 16th August 2012
By William Tomaney
TWO Wyre Forest Games Makers have described their experiences at the London 2012 Olympics as “inspiring”.
Josh Coles, 20 and Michael Sheldon, 63, both of Kidderminster, spent two weeks in the capital among 70,000 volunteers who have received widespread praise for helping the Games run smoothly.
Both helped spectators with disabilities or mobility problems get around the venues. Mr Coles worked at the Olympic Park’s water polo arena and Mr Sheldon at the ExCel Centre.
Mr Coles, who is studying philosophy at Wolverhampton University, said his dream to be involved in the Olympics had come true.
“I remember when I was younger and we won the bid, I knew I had to be part of the Games,” he said. “It was a great feeling to be selected but it was something else actually being there.
“It was amazing to be recognised by [LOCOG chairman] Seb Coe and [IOC president] Jacques Rogge at the closing ceremony and to hear the audience’s response was amazing.
“I got to know some of the other volunteers – it had a real team feel to it.
“My standout memory was helping an Australian lady who had an accident since she had bought her ticket and needed to change her seats.
“She was a wonderful person and she had me taking photos all over the place. It felt very rewarding to help a really good person and she gave me an Australia keyring.”
Mr Sheldon said he would remember the “electric” atmosphere and people’s attitudes towards the volunteers.
“It was emotional,” he said. “We were told to smile but we were smiling anyway because that’s how it was. We were there to inspire a generation but I think we were inspired.
“From day one it was faultless and that helped not just the spectators but the athletes. It was absolutely fantastic.”
Mr Sheldon recalled helping 1972 Olympic pentathlon gold medalist Mary Peters, boxer Amir Khan and former rugby star Martin Johnson at the arena, which hosted sports including table tennis, wrestling and boxing.
“I think Rio [2016 Olympic host] has got something to beat,” he added.
Mr Sheldon will return to London on Wednesday, August 29, to take up the same role at the Paralympic Games.
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