I left Bangor station at 8:20 this morning knowing that I had a long journey ahead of me. Today was the day I needed to pick up my Olympic uniform and accreditation. Considering that I live quite far from London, it only takes three hours to get there, meaning I can usually avoid overnight stays.
A few hours later, I arrive in London and make my way to St. Pancras station – since I’m heading for Stratford, I decided to make use of the high speed line. About five minutes on the train, and I arrive at the Olympic park… and the new Westfield shopping centre. I must admit that it’s quite impressive – I’m so used to Cardiff, and this dwarfs the St David shopping centre. As I walk around, I’m bombarded with loads of brands – some I’ve never even encountered before! Since it was lunchtime I headed for the food court, and one particular place caught my attention. Franco Manca is somewhere I’d heard about before, and a lot of people say it’s the best pizza outside Italy. I wasn’t disappointed either, and it was very reasonably priced considering this is London!
I was scheduled to be at the Uniform Distribution and Accreditation Centre (UDAC) at 2pm, so I soon made my way over there. It involved a trip on one of the newer branches of the DLR from Stratford International to Star Lane. I was a little worried that I might not be able to find the place since Google Maps couldn’t help me (thanks! 😕) – turns out it was blatantly obvious, with massive colourful flags, and everyone else seemed to be headed that way anyway.
For those of you who haven’t experienced UDAC (or have yet to), it’s a maze of corridors, rooms, service desks and following lines drawn on the floor. Even with the place pretty quiet, it still took me the best part of an hour to get through, but I eventually emerged fully kitted out! 😁
There appears to be quite a lot of uniform, but it was efficiently packed into a nicely sized bag by the friendly UDAC volunteers. It appears that everyone is jealous of the victory ceremonies volunteers… as I kept getting reminded! Everyone decided it would be easier to wear their accreditation while walking around the UDAC which gave us the opportunity to find out what roles others have without asking them, and I discovered roles I didn’t even know existed (brand protection anyone??). I noticed that mine had a blue bar across the bottom and a number 2, and I didn’t see anyone else with this – turns out they allow access to the field of play and the athlete preparation areas!
Unpacking my UDAC stuff, it momentarily felt like Christmas – it was a uniform alright, but it feels more like a gift from the Olympics. We did get a Swatch as a gift though – not part of the uniform apparently.
Olympic uniforms also have strict guidelines, as I found out in the book they provided us. Although I was happy to learn that we’re allowed to put pin badges on the flap of our bags – I took this opportunity to add my pin badge collection to the bag! 😬
Being given free stuff seems to make you forget that you’re spending your own money to volunteer at the Olympics.