i Editor's Letter: The positive face of the Games


Click to follow
The Independent Online


I invited you to stop moaning and tell me what you most look forward to about the Games. The response was heartening.

@markcaseok is relishing the prospect of Mark Cavendish in the men's road race; @edbykerbooks tweets that amateur boxing epitomises sportsmanship. June Tooley is sanguine: "things are bound to need ironing out, but let's focus on the athletes' achievements", while John Baddeley lauds the Government for at least having a contingency plan to deal with security problems. Still more of you are looking forward to the geographical backdrops to events: beach volleyball in Horse Guards, equestrianism in Greenwich.

In my continuing attempt to change the discourse to focus on the Games' positives (let's leave the bad news to news pages) I'm turning over the rest of my space to this (abridged) letter from Paul Conlan of Windlesham. Paul's is the spirit that will conquer the carping, and turn the Games into something to marvel at and be proud of.

"The Games are about discovering you cared about things you had never thought of. I'm one of 10,000 volunteers. I've been allocated duties at Wimbledon as a 'Gamesmaker'. Since 2 June, I have also been rehearsing as an Opening Ceremony Performer – along with hundreds of others of all ages and backgrounds. None of us has done anything like this before.

"We have been rehearsing all times of the day, I can remember only one dry day. My travel time is over four hours. Last Tuesday I didn't get home until midnight. Most of my fellow performers arrived straight from work and had to be back behind their desks early on Wednesday.

"Having been inspired by the volunteering ethic of the 2000 Sydney Games, I never thought it but London 2012 will eclipse anything the world has seen before, all thanks to the volunteers."

Paul Conlan