Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Team (and) mates

At my first training session back in January, we had to write a private letter to ourselves that we would get back after the Games, where we had to describe what we wanted or hoped to get out of the Olympics. Simple but great idea. 

Our letters were handed back to us on Sunday and i had a read through mine and i'm happy to say that most of my objectives and hopes have come true. In particular, i wanted to meet new people and understand more about how athletes work and what drives them. 

Working in a small and very disorganised NOC delegation like Haiti pushed me in 2 ways: first you had to rely strongly on your fellow volunteers and second, we got a lot of contact with the athletes. So here i 'll give you a short over view of my team-mates and the next post will be on the athletes.

So first my team-mates : 

- Harry, British, 25 years old, just finished studying building engineering, learned french and creole in the Caribbean when he was a missionary there for 2 years, dislikes processes and would have put his life down to serve an athlete, not so much the dignitaries, like all of us. 

- Pierre, French from Grenoble  45ish, lives in Leamington Spa, which meant a 2h30 commute every day to come to the Village in Stratford, London, has 2 little daughters and has done all sorts of sports from Gymnastics to teaching Karate now. Doesn t say much in the beginning but get things done and came out his shell.
- Nathalie, XX years old :-), project manager at Apple, lived in Toulouse for a couple of years, one of these people that just doesn t take no for an answer and knows how to set boundaries. Same thing, gets things done.

- Yours Truly. 

We had never met all together before our first day at the Olympic village so we introduced ourselves to each other and to our Chef de Mission Gerald at the same time. Now, i 've never been a freelance or worked in any volunteering organisation in a sustained way, so learning to be part of team in 24hours is really a new thing. I'm used to building a team, devising roles and responsibilities over 6-8 months, so this was a bit of a crash course.

And honestly, from speaking to other NOCs, i think we were very lucky, or very well chosen as a team as our strengths and weaknesses worked well together. 

Harry was supposed to be Team Coordinator, in effect Nathalie and I were much more in that role, but i think that is our nature and work coming in, and all this was very comfortably assumed. The difference with a corporate environment, is that there are no politics to be played, nothing to justify or show off, no boss to have to report to. You are entirely autonomous as a group and as a group you fix your agenda and priorities. It s incredibly nice and truly part of the Olympic Spirit i think.

As you will have guessed from some of my articles, all was not smooth and easy and there was a ton of information to process so relying on these guys to have your back and find a solution was so so incredibly good.

The Best part i think of the whole experience is the daily debrief where we would share and pass on tasks and anecdotes...much laughter, head shaking  and " No he didnt!!!? oh yes he did!!"

They were part and package of my whole experience, so thank you guys.<3 font="font">

Will we stay in touch? I don t know to be fair, whilst they are all great people, we have our own life and what brought us together is now over and there is nothing worse than a contrived relationship where all you do is speak about the good old times you have in common. But i would like to stay in touch, as they are really good people. I think at this point i've got a fair chance with Nathalie, and for the guys, well, we will see!

Time and Life will tell

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