I was the Face of the Olympics!
Volunteering as a Team London Ambassador at the Olympics gave Devinder Degun once in a lifetime opportunity……. the chance to be the face of London!
“Every volunteer has been invited to the athletes parade starting today in less than an hour to celebrate the success of London 2012. For me this will be the truest spectacle which will represent the diversity of British society and how the Olympic and Paralympics games have not only been a huge success but have brought the country closer together.
Being based at Paddington Station and welcoming people from all over the world to our city was a great pleasure, and nothing like I had ever experienced before. On my first day I didn’t quite know what to expect but as I met my team of six with a smile on each one’s face and an element of enthusiasm I swiftly settled into my role. Each member of my team was from a different background and most of us could speak another language, which was definitely useful when approached by those who were not familiar to the English language. Not only did this unique volunteering opportunity bring us all together but it also gave us a chance to learn about each others’ cultures and nationalities. Every member of the team represented the capital’s diversity in their own way.
Throughout my six shifts, Mexicans, Indians, Australians, Americans and many more nationalities and groups passed by, with some giving us their country pins as a souvenir whilst others insisted on a photo as a memory! Some also asked for the best places to eat and I could recommend every cuisine! Let’s be realistic, without a number of different cuisines, Chinese, Italian, Nepalese and many more Londoners would probably go crazy! Well I definitely would anyway!
In the evenings we also attracted a small crowd of people from different nationalities around our pod’s laptop whilst watching watching Jessica Ennis win her gold medal and Usain Bolt win his gold in what looked to be a casual jog! Together we all celebrated the success of some of the world’s greatest athletes in the middle of a train station, something which is unlikely to ever happen again!
If London 2012’s aim was to bring sport and culture together, in my opinion it has certainly succeeded as London Ambassadors came together from different communities and groups to be the face of London and promote their city together! Any prejudices or divisions that exist in Britain today were left behind and we were ‘all part of it’.