There’s something strange about a stadium with no people in it – not when you’re being taken on a tour, but when you’re actually involved operationally. The stadium is almost empty apart from a handful of people, most in games maker uniform, and it doesn’t feel as if it’s about to stage Olympic football matches.
This was, of course, our second on-venue rehearsal. After all the training at 3 Mills, this was our chance to try it out in the venue with the real podium, on the real field-of-play, even with the real announcer (as opposed to our producer shouting at us in French!!)
Before starting, we were given a brief tour of our operational areas, and our main one is the field of play. As we were walking out of the tunnel, I imagined a full stadium of around 90,000 people – and the thought actually scares me! On the way out through the tunnel, there’s a quote from Baron Pierre de Coubertin (the founder of the modern Olympics), which is a nice touch. It reminds the athletes why they go out there – to have fun and try their hardest!
And this is our main base – one of the athlete changing rooms – I feel quite privileged to be based here, and there aren’t many that can say they’ve actually used one of the rooms (used, not been in). We quickly made ourselves comfortable!
And this is the lovely, Royal College of Art-designed suit we’ll be wearing for our ceremonies!
Also, if you do notice some strange formations being used during Olympic football matches, we may have had something to do with that – everyone got excited when someone noticed the whiteboard in the corner, and people were quick to use it for their own “tactics talk”.
And last, but not least, this is my team for the Olympics. There are 24 teams (as far as I’m aware) and we happen to be called team V. We’re the biggest team since there are 18 medal/flower bearers in the team – football is the largest victory ceremony in the Olympics with 18 athletes in each team.