The combined pool and spa sectors played their part in a remarkable summer of sport in the UK, providing several of the army of 70,000 volunteer Games Makers who made such an impact at both London 2012 events.
They included Jamie Smith, a company director at The London Swimming Pool Company, who was a field of play marshall for the road cycling team.
Jamie was based in Fulham Road for the mens’ and womens’ road races and at the timing checkpoint outside Sandown Park for the time trials.
Jamie says: “The Olympics was an absolutely, fantastic, unforgettable experience.
“I applied with my interests as being rowing, road cycling and triathlon – I like to cycle regularly and have competed in a number of triathlons in the past,” Jamie explains. “There were so many outstanding memories, but the ones that really comes to mind, was walking to the Hyde Park Games Maker base at 6am on the first morning of the Olympics,” he says.
“The feeling that I was about to take part in something as amazing as the Olympic Games, will live with me forever – remembering that feeling is still making the hairs on the back of my neck stand up!”
Jamie is now regularly to be seen on television with repeated re-runs of national cycling hero Bradley Wiggins racing past, only inches away from Jamie, as the gold medallist and Tour de France champion hits 55 kph.
“The feeling of immense pride of being part of the Greatest Show on Earth,” says Jamie.“I am so glad that I was lucky enough to have been selected to be a Games Maker – I actually took part in the Olympics, not in the way that I had dreamt of as a boy but taken part none the less.”
Catherine Reid, best known for her role with Bayrol UK, worked at the Paralympics in the wheelchair fencing competition.
“Taking part in London 2012 always felt as though it was meant to be. Coming from a family that was actively involved in sports – my grandparents met at a tennis club, and my parents met at a squash club – sports and activity has been in my genes as well as part of our culture,” says Catherine.
“It was intense at times, with the fencers getting into the zone, ready for competition, aiming to give the performance of their life. “The whole experience was extraordinary – my fellow Games
Makers were a diverse group of people, but were like-minded in that we all wanted to contribute and make a difference and we really gelled as a group.”
Peter Evans, managing director of the Pollet Pool Group worked as volunteer driver based in Park Lane, acting as taxi driver to officials and some athletes and often an unofficial tourist guide.
“I had 15 shifts of ten hours each over four weeks as we brought people from the airport before and took them back after the Games. I worked and volunteered for four straight weeks and did not get much sleep.
“It was a fantastic experience, London was buzzing for the Games,” says Peter. “As a nation, we can still do it on the world stage, so let’s get on and compete in sport and business and win at both.
Originally trained as a T1 Driver, for the Olympics, David Mathers, chairman of SCP UK, was dramatically switched to become a Group Leader for Paralympics due to someone dropping out.
“After getting all the countries off to the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympics, I and two others, were given passes to attend the Opening Ceremony, with seats a few rows in front of Kate and Wills in the Royal Box,” says David, who says his whole Olympics experience was simply fantastic.
“I set myself a ‘challenge’ from the start which increased as the role changed, which enabled me to meet such a mix of people from royalty to ambassadors to sheiks from all over the world. I enjoyed every minute.
“What a great team of people I worked with, all had the ‘A’ for attitude factor,” enthuses David.
“That was something we could all learn a lot from; I met different people every day and we all got on so well, and honestly couldn’t think of a single thing we did not solve ,” he adds. “It was felt we had run THE BEST EVER Olympics, that was a great tribute to all the Games Makers.”
Pool & Spa Scene publisher Christina Connor worked with the Olympic News Service interviewing competitors, medallists and celebrities at the gymnastics event which was held at the O2 arena.
“Given our huge work and family commitments it would have been so easy to find an excuse to pull out of the role – thank heavens I didn’t. It was simply out of this world.
“Having a strong background in news journalism, I wasn’t fazed by the pressure or the tight deadlines – I loved being in the mix and incredibly proud to have played a part.
“I met some outstanding individuals, made some great contacts and have so many memories that I hope to share with my grandchildren.”
With praise still being heaped on the Games Makers, a reunion is being arranged for next year while many consider volunteering again for the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh in 2014 and the Rio Games in 2016.
Says Peter Evans: “If Rio aren’t ready, it won’t be a problem, we will just do it all in London again!”