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2012 Olympics Volunteer: Ioanna Iordanou

Ionna Iordanou

Why did you decide to get involved in the London 2012 Games?

When the 2004 Olympic Games took place in my hometown (Athens), my only regret was that my PhD commitments at Warwick did not allow me to be a volunteer for an institution that from a very early age has been very dear to my heart. When I found out about the opportunity to contribute to the London 2012 Olympics based at the University of Warwick, I didn't have to think twice. It is not often that you get a second chance in life for something so uniquely momentous! So, ironically, while I was deprived of the opportunity to become an Olympic Games volunteer in my home country due to my Warwick commitments, it was Warwick that eventually offered me a second chance and the immense honour to contribute to an Olympiad in the country that has now become my home! Moreover, I saw the Selection Event Volunteer post as an opportunity to enrich my experience and skills and be part of a team that is not related to the world of work, for a change!

What process did you have to follow to become a selection event volunteer?

The process was pretty much similar to applying for a job. Firstly I filled in an application form stating my relevant skills and experience and expressing my interest and motivation for the post in early January 2011. Three months later I was informed that I had been shortlisted for an interview and in May I was called to elaborate further on my motivation and relevant skills and experience. Finally, a couple of weeks later I was informed that my interview had been successful and was invited to attend a training programme that took place in early June.

What training did you have to undertake?

The training involved a very informative one day workshop covering general knowledge about the London 2012 Games Makers' responsibilities and their application process, focusing intensely on interviewing techniques and how to assess each candidate’s relevant skills, experience and motivation to take on the role they have applied for. The training programme was very strongly focused on Diversity and Inclusion and it will also involve general briefings on the functional area each interview will focus on. I found the training very thorough and detailed and I particularly appreciated the emphasis on making this experience as enjoyable and relaxing as possible for the candidates.

What does the Selection Event volunteer role involve?

A Selection Event Volunteer (SEV) will essentially interview and assess the potential Game Makers for the London 2012 Olympics, focusing on the functional area they have applied to volunteer in. It is a very challenging task as the SEVs are called to interview over 100,000 applicants to cover approximately 70,000 posts. A SEV is expected to conduct 6 thirty minute interviews per daily shift, showing professionalism and enthusiasm and acting as an Ambassador for London 2012. The Selection Event for the Midlands area, which, I believe, is the second largest after London, will take place at the University of Warwick and everyone who has been invited to attend should expect a unique experience, made up of an informative exhibition about the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Game Makers' role in the Games as well as the interview.

Have you applied for Olympic tickets? Have you been successful?

No, not yet. As I had the unique honour and experience to attend most of my favourite Olympic sports in Athens, in 2004, I thought it was only fair to give priority to those who wish to have the same experience. I most certainly hope to be able to attend a few events but the nature of the event is not important to me at all. I primarily want to experience the atmosphere of the Olympic Games in Britain, so I'm hoping to purchase whatever is available a lot closer to the Games… it's all about the Olympic Spirit for me!

Where will you be watching the Games next year?

In the comfort of my own home here in the UK and hopefully in a couple of Olympic venues, as well. I consider myself very lucky to be able to experience an Olympiad in my country of residence for a second time. I am very excited, proud, and honoured to be a volunteer for London 2012 and I can't wait to breathe every single moment of this momentous event knowing that I had a small contribution to what I know will be a wonderful Olympic and Paralympic Games here in the UK.

Ioanna Iordanou, CLL student and Warwick alumni, Centre for the Study of the Renaissance