Olympic Diary Part 4 – Guests

After getting to bed in the small hours of the Friday night of the Opening Ceremony having seen all our guests off to bed. It was only a few hours before I was up again to make sure the ones unfortunate enough to have an early event to go to were up and ready to get on the coach. They were but a few decided not to bother and this, sadly, was one of the patterns of hospitality and one that was reflected in other sponsors programmes. For us, and everyone else I knew, an Olympic ticket was like Willy Wonka’s gold ticket. It was to be treasured and  the moments imprinted on one’s memory for ever (or on a  camera phone at least). But for some others (not all), particularly guests of corporates who weren’t paying for the ticket and hotel etc, it was just another jolly. And in some ways that was the theme of the Olympics for me. Most were blown away by the chance to be at the games and the unique experience they were privileged to have but it was the minority who didn’t that sadly stay in the memory.

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Olympic Diary Part 3 – Opening Ceremony Day

It seemed a miracle but finally the 27th July had arrived. The day of the Opening Ceremony. The start of the Olympic Games and the Beginning of the conclusion of this whole crazy project. Nearly 3 1/2 years for me and a lot longer for some others. The recruitment of 8,000 people had been done to everyone’s satisfaction. The team had done an extraordinary job especially reflecting on the first months of the project. Our  first VIP guests had arrived and our hospitality team were in place and ready. I felt like a nervous expectant father in the delivery suite waiting for his first born. And it seems I wasn’t the only one with the jitters. The press had been carping on for weeks about the almost inevitable transport gridlock, security debacles and the problems G4S had in deploying enough staff not to mention a melt down at Heathrow and anger at the Zill Lanes. Even the weather was conspiring against us as Britain experienced its wettest summer for 100 years. And don’t mention the sport. Let’s face it, us plucky Brits are only good at coming a creditable second. If every sport was decided on penalties we would lose. Beijing was a blip. In 2012 it would come crashing down – in our own backyard!

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Olympic Diary Part 2 – The CEO’s Torch

After getting to bed at 1am after the magnificent final dress rehearsal of the Opening Ceremony I am not even sure I slept but the alarm went off two hours later. This was the start of one of the most stressful days in the lead up to the games and I was dreading it. Adecco’s Global Chief Exec, Patrick de Maeseneire, had been nominated to carry the Olympic Torch. We had been given a slot on the penultimate day so I thought that would be the most convenient for him as it was in London rather than out in the sticks but in the weeks leading up to the day pressure and expectation had been building.

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Olympic Diary Part 1

It may seem a little late to post a diary about the Olympics but during the actual games I just couldn’t find the time – a very lame excuse I know and I’m sorry. Posting my recollections this late, however, means I can relive the moments and provide a bit of an insight of what goes on behind the scenes, certainly from a sponsor point of view.

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Carrying The Olympic Flame

It was some time ago that I was told I was to be honoured by being part of the Olympic Torch Relay and carrying the Olympic flame and to be honest, what with everything going on in life it was pushed to the back of my mind. The 30th May, the day of my leg of the relay came around suddenly. Thank goodness for Karen who had organised all those who wanted to travel all the way to Staffordshire. I barely remembered to grab my uniform as we headed out the door at 8am to travel to the north Midlands for my “moment to shine”!

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Back On The Bike

Its been a month since my last post and for those of you more interested in bike things rather than medical things this is good news. I’ll just stick to bike news. Even I am fed up with medical stuff. Yesterday was my third outing on my old bike. It was cold and windy but with Mrs G to my rear and Fi Packham up front I felt protected – can one have wing women? There are inevitable aches and pains but I can genuinely say I am chuffed to be back on the bike. I was worried I would react negatively to throwing my leg over the old steed for the first time or pull up when faced with my first real hill but no, it felt, well, right. I was and still am a little cautious going down hill but that’s no bad thing and I am more aware of the road surface and obstacles, pot-holes and anything that will make the bike slide. I’m actually finding it hard to take it easy!

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Back To Normal?

After the conference and my week of pain killer cold turkey the intention was to ease my self back into the work routine. It didn’t happen. Well, the easing bit didn’t. I have found that when you are back you are back. The diary fills up with meetings that should have happened months ago. Work have been great but the work still needs to be done, oh and the Olympics is less than six months away. I started coming in on the train, a little later to avoid the rush hour and get a seat, and getting cabs in London. Within a week I was back travelling in rush hour and was using the tubes. I started off with two crutches but to be  honest it was more difficult getting around. For example, getting tickets out to get through the gates at railway and tube stations was a real chore and in rush hour folks are less than chuffed when I have to stop and lean both crutches on the gate whilst I reach for my ticket, put in the slot then shuffle through. Which is why using one crutch is easier and people still know to give me a bit of space.

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Bit of a break (no pun intended) from the recovery marathon and on to something more immediate. Or is it? I am talking about the global viral phenomenon that is  the Kony 2012 video. In a matter of days this video has been viewed by over 50 million people and is rising exponentially as I write this. It has been driven by the power of social media and the video is posted every minute on Facebook  and Twitter – or so it appears on my feeds. Kids are coming home from school  having been encouraged to take notice. So this is great, right? An evil man is getting the unwanted attention he deserves and, we trust, will be brought to justice. This, like the Arab Spring, demonstrates the power of social media to energise people and bring down the evil and corrupt surely? Well, yes and no.

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Olympic Torch Shuffle

I’m going to be an Olympic Torchbearer! Yes, that’s right, I’m going to be one of the lucky 8,000 people who will help carry the Olympic torch on a small part of its journey from Lands End all around the country arriving at the Olympic Stadium at the opening ceremony on the evening of 27th July. How amazing is that? I am chuffed, excited, honoured, humbled and, to be honest, shocked – obviously in a good way. I certainly never saw this coming. So how on earth did I end up with this once in a lifetime honour?

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Adecco’s annual conference is a big glitzy (and boozy) affair. Following the accident, my boss had been really encouraging and had said it would be great if I could not only make the conference but present as well. This is, after all, the last time the whole company gets together before the Olympics and I really wanted the chance to set out what we have achieved over the last three years and what we have lined up for this, Olympic year. So it was with a mixture of excitement and trepidation that I got in the cab with my wheelchair to head up to the Novotel, Hammersmith for three days and nights.

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