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THE HERALD FRIDAY AUGUST 19 2016


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The rugbyy sevens stadium at Deodoro has been converted for modern pentathlon


Our team at Deodoro Stadium


the following year, 2005, when Lord Coe and his team made a successful presentation to the Olympic movement and beat off the challenge of Paris to win the right to stage the London 2012 Games. In 2010, the Games organisers


opened up the doors to volunteers and I successfully applied to join the Games Makers. There was an interview process in


Cardiff followed by training sessions in London before I was able to join the team as what was described as a ‘Flash Quotes Reporter’ with the Olympic News Service and Paralympic News Service. The events of the summer of 2012


provided enough material for a short book (not actually completed yet!). Along the way, I interviewed the likes


of Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish, the Brownlee triathlon brothers, Alistair and Johnny, and a whole host of other international athletes – some medal winners, some distraught at seeing four- years-plus of hard work going down the tubes. At the Paralympics, I interviewed


David Weir, Hannah Cockcroft, Jonnie Peacock and Richard Whitehead. And, oh yes, I remember now, I also


interviewed a South African Paralympic athlete by the name of Oscar Pistorius. But, perhaps, the least said about him, the better... All in all, my summer of 2012 was


a massive experience, a privilege to be (almost) on the very inside track of the Games. It was humbling and inspiring at the same time. So, bitten by the Olympics bug, I


decided to see if there was a chance to volunteer for Rio. Two years ago, I made it through the initial selection process.


The medal ceremony at the rugby sevens tournament


Last August, I had a video link


interview with the Olympics team based in Brasilia. There followed some online training


tests – and, then, in November of last year, I received notification that I’d been accepted. Initially, more than 1000 UK


volunteers were accepted to join the 50,000 volunteers needed for the Rio Games. This week, that number is reckoned to be nearer 800 as some have been forced to drop out along the way. ‘Rio Soul Lloyd’ (Rio Soul is what


they are calling the volunteers) has been based at the Deodoro complex, which includes everything from equestrian events to BMX bike riding. Helping stage the rugby sevens tournament was a massive personal treat. For the next few days (this piece


is datelined because of my work commitments), I will be based at the Youth Arena for indoor modern pentathlon events and then later at Deodoro Stadium and the Aquatics Centre for the outdoor parts of the competition. I confess that before this week,


I knew as much about the modern pentathlon as most blokes know about synchronised swimming. But, after a crash course, it turns


out I am now something of an expert at scoring the fencing part of the modern pentathlon. Saturday night sees the last of my Olympic volunteer shifts. Sunday may take in the closing


ceremony at the legendary Maracana Stadium. From then, the focus shifts to the Paralympic Games. I’ll be reporting back with more news


from Rio for The Herald next week. Tchau!


Rob in the Enghenao Olympic Stadium


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